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Invasive insect threatens iconic Florida citrus

August 25, 2014

LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) — Florida is well-known known for its citrus.

Oranges, especially, have long been synonymous with the magic of the state.

Throughout the decades, citrus has stood strong — through freezes, hurricanes and rampant development.

But now the $9 billion industry is facing its biggest threat yet, putting at risk the state’s economy and very identity.

A disease brought to Florida from Asia via a tiny invasive bug is slowly killing the fruit-bearing trees. It’s called “greening.”

The bug was first spotted in the state in 1998. Greening showed up in 2005. There is no cure, and no country has ever successfully eradicated it.

Nearly all of the state’s citrus groves are affected in varying degrees by greening.

Experts say that if a solution isn’t found, Florida’s entire citrus industry could collapse.

Florida is second in the world, behind Brazil, in growing juice oranges.

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