The Asian citrus psyllid Diaphorina citri, a dreaded insect for citrus trees and a vector of one of the most dreaded citrus diseases - citrus greening or Huanglongbing (HLB) - has been detected in Guyana (in Cayenne, Rémire-Montjoly, Matoury and Macouria).
Responsible for the destruction of citrus plantations, the disease eventually kills the infected trees. Widely spread in Asia, it is the first time ever detected in Guyana.
This insect was first detected in July 2021 around the route de la Madeleine in Cayenne. After analysis and mapping, the survey has confirmed its presence on Chinese boxwood and citrus fruit in Cayenne, Rémire-Montjoly, Matoury and Macouria. The Candidatus Liberibacter bacteria responsible for the HLB disease is weakly positive in 2 samples out of 9.
“It is very concerning for the citrus sector. In other countries, the disease has had very dramatic consequences for the productions. There is reason to worry. The professionals must be warned in order to slow down the epidemic. It is the first time that this insect is found in Guyana. We are looking for the source of its apparition. We believe that it has been imported,” explains Damien Laplace, head of the DAAF plant protection unit.
To this day, there is no particular technique to fight this disease, but some means are put in place. “Fighting against the pest in gardens, nurseries, garden centers and orchards, limiting the movements of plants, citrus plants and boxwood within the contaminated area and towards non-contaminated areas, and slowing down the spread of the disease by destroying the sick plants in nurseries, garden centers and farms.” The citrus fruit sector in Guyana has a farming area of nearly 1,650 ha, half of which is used for limes exclusively. The main citrus fruits grown in Guyana are limes, chadecks, mandarins, oranges and grapefruits.