Feds earmark $1.5 million to fight citrus greening

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Updated: 5/13 12:10 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Federal agriculture officials are spending more than $1.5 million on so-called "bio-control" efforts to combat citrus greening in crops in Florida, California and Texas.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday the money will be spent in the three states in hopes of figuring out how to contain the disease.

Part of the plan is to release a tiny parasitic wasp that eats the eggs of the Asian citrus psyllid, which causes the greening.

The citrus greening bacterium is spread by the psyllid. It causes trees to produce green, disfigured and bitter fruits by altering nutrient flow to the tree, eventually killing it. It threatens Florida's $9 billion citrus industry.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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