- Author: Ben Faber
It turns out, specially trained dogs can find citrus trees infested with Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP). Canine Detection Services in Fresno has a grant from USDA to provide dogs that will sniff out the insects. The grant runs until March 2022.
The dogs are trained to sniff out ACP using training aids which contain ACP scent which does not have the bacterium causing the disease. The dogs run a pattern within an orchard or along the perimeter of the orchard. Dogs will sniff all sides of the trees in a given pattern. Depending on the environmental conditions, the dogs can smell the psyllid within 22 feet of an infested tree.
Canine Detection Services is also working with CDFA inspectors in residential neighborhoods, according to Victoria Hornbaker, director of the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division within the CDFA. In this instance, the dog handlers shadow CDFA inspectors as they survey residential citrus trees for the pest and disease.
Hornbaker says the dogs can be a valuable tool for state inspectors to survey neighborhoods more quickly. If a dog alerts on a tree, inspectors can investigate for ACP adults or nymphs, and collect insect samples. This is also done in conjunction with surveys for the HLB disease.
The dog team services are free to commercial growers in California, Arizona, and Texas through next March, according to Finke. To schedule a visit or for answers to specific questions, contact Lisa Finke by email at email@example.com.
- Author: Ben Faber
On a recent trip to Florida we saw a dog in action locating avocado trees that had been attacked by the Redbay ambrosia beetle which carries the fungus Raffalea lauricola which is a similar pest/disease complex that is found in California with the Polyphagous/Kuroshio Shot Hole Borer and Fusarium Euwallacea that leads to Fusasrium Wilt in avocado. The fungus gives off a certain odor that the dog is trained to smell and along with the human trainer goes around the orchard to identify infected trees. The trees can then be removed so that they don't act as a reservoir of infection that can be spread to other trees by the beetle. The dog seemed to work pretty fast. Depending on the acreage covered, the handler says they charge $150 per acre to find diseased trees. This can happen before more advanced symptoms show up that humans can see. This technology could be used in identifying other tree diseases, such as Huanglongbing, citrus canker and Phytophthora, along with others.
Dog has found a laurel wilt infected tree that will soon be removed. (Tim Spann).