California Residents Called on to Help Save California Citrus

March 4, 2015

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (March 5, 2015) – Peeling an orange picked fresh off a backyard tree. Enjoying a refreshing lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Sharing a juicy mandarin with your kids after school. These are some of America’s favorite moments and they’re all at risk because California citrus is facing a major threat from a tiny insect and the devastating disease it can spread.

The Asian citrus psyllid, a pest that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees, can transmit a deadly citrus disease known as Huanglongbing (pronounced hwahng-lawng-bing), commonly referred to as citrus greening. The disease has no known cure, and once infected, citrus trees decline in health, produce inedible fruit and eventually die, generally in five years’ time. The Asian citrus psyllid can move quickly from residential areas into neighboring commercial groves. Considering more than 60 percent of California homeowners have a citrus tree in their yard—adding up to more citrus trees in backyards than in all the commercial groves combined—California residents play a crucial role in the fight to protect the California citrus industry.

In an effort to call attention to this threat, today Bayer CropScience and California Citrus Mutual kicked off #CitrusMatters, a year-long campaign geared at raising awareness of Huanglongbing, or HLB. The campaign will utilize an educational website,, and the hashtag #CitrusMatters in social media to educate California residents about the dangers of the disease and empower them to take action to help prevent the spread of HLB in California.

“From oranges to lemons, it’s impossible to imagine our lives without the citrus fruit that grows across California,” said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual. “The average American eats 12.5 pounds of citrus every year, and California groves provide 80 percent of the fresh market citrus available in the United States. With the help of California homeowners, we can protect the California citrus industry and the fresh fruit we all love.”

Here are four simple ways Californians can engage with the campaign to help prevent Asian citrus psyllid infestations and help save California citrus:

  1. Spread the word about HLB and share why they love citrus. With every share of the hashtag #CitrusMatters between now and September 30, Bayer CropScience will donate $1, up to $25,000, to California Citrus Mutual in support of prevention, detection and research on this devastating disease.
  2. Access additional resources specific to their area by visiting
  3. Have their trees checked if they think they might be infected. Call the California Department of Food and Agriculture at 1-800-491-1899 for more information
  4. Become familiar with treatment options and the products that protect against the Asian citrus psyllid

“We are committed to helping prevent the spread of HLB to help preserve the livelihood of California’s professional citrus growers and protect the fresh citrus that we all enjoy,” said Rob Schrick, horticulture strategic business lead, Bayer CropScience. “We’ve seen the impact HLB has had in Florida and other markets, affecting citrus growers’ productivity and resulting in an increase in the price of citrus at the grocery store. Through #CitrusMatters, we hope to inform and engage Californians to help prevent a similar situation in their state.”

By the time HLB was first discovered in Florida in 2005, the Asian citrus psyllid was already prevalent throughout the state, leaving growers with limited options for preventative measures. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service in 2012, the direct impact of HLB in Florida between 2006 and 2011 resulted in a loss of more than 8,000 jobs and a cost of $4.5 billion to the state‘s economy. Bayer CropScience and the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, among other industry stakeholders, are currently supporting research to help find a solution for HLB before more citrus acreage is lost.

The California citrus industry currently employs 12,000 people and contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy each year. While only one tree infected by the bacterial disease has been found in California, the Asian citrus psyllid has been found in 15 California counties. HLB could quickly devastate the California citrus industry if proper management practices aren’t used to prevent Asian citrus psyllids from spreading the disease.

To learn more about the importance of proactive management to the success of the California citrus industry and how homeowners, commercial citrus growers and citrus lovers alike can help save citrus, visit

For more information on Bayer CropScience’s citrus portfolio, please visit

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About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 9,494 million (2014) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 23,100 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at:

About California Citrus Mutual
California Citrus Mutual (CCM) is a citrus producer's trade association whose 2,200 grower members comprise 60 percent of California's 275,000 acre, $2.4 billion citrus industry. The Exeter, California-based organization was founded in 1977 by those who felt the need to unite their fellow growers into a cohesive, powerful force. Throughout the years, CCM has brought to fruition many of the goals of the founding fathers and has developed into a dominant force from within as well as outside the industry. Having attained the privilege to be called the "voice of the citrus grower," CCM remains the vessel which successfully navigates the often rocky waters of the business interest of its membership. For more information on CCM, visit

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