Do you like waking up in the morning and pouring a cold glass of orange juice (or for the urban brunch crowd, slugging down some mimosas on the weekend?) Your early morning drink could be quickly endangered. Florida, one of the largest producers of oranges in America, is having a serious slump.
Due to an aggressive Asian insect that’s spreading a destructive tree disease, orange trees are dying at an alarming rate. The Florida Department of Citrus predicts that by 2026, the orange bumper crop will drop to 27 million boxes, an 82 percent decrease over the course of two decades.
Huanglongbing, better known as citrus greening, is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a small winged insect, and there is currently no cure for the disease, according to Bloomberg. Greening has already cost the state $7.8 billion and more than 7,500 jobs between 2006 and 2014, the University of Florida estimates. Farmers say that the bug has been more destructive than hurricanes.
Both scientists and farmers are looking for cures and solutions. Buzzing insect traps that lure the insects with vibrations, invented by Richard Mankin, a research entomologist at the USDA, is currently being tested out.