Dogs Detect Citrus Diseases

Agriculture Detector K-9 Soya

Dogs Detect Citrus Diseases

January 25, 2016

Dogs Detect Citrus Diseases

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Animals have been known to be able to use their senses to detect things that humans require extensive technology to detect. Mary Palm, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) national coordinator for citrus pest programs, said dogs have been successfully trained to detect canker disease, and now Huanglongbing disease (HLB), in citrus.

“Over the past four to five years,” Palm said, “a researcher in Florida first determined dogs could actually detect canker, began training dogs,” Palm said, “and then trained different sets of dogs to detect it. It turned out that they were very good at it. In a demonstration there, none of the people could find any symptoms in a particular citrus tree, but the dogs came through and found the symptoms. Once the people came back and looked very closely, sure enough, it was there.”

Palm said the USDA Huanglongbing Multi Agency Coordination (MAC) Group funded research to determine if dogs could detect HLB in citrus as well as they detected canker. There are now five dogs being trained and tested daily. If grower demand increases, the use of canines in pest management could increase.

Palm said they will probably come up in the next year or two with certification criteria for other companies to train dogs and certify them as detectors. Palm said, “They would be able to get a certificate to show they had conducted all of the tests necessary with the [proper] degree of accuracy.” Palm said the dogs in this program have a 99 percent success rate at detecting HLB disease.

Palm said approximately 80 trees are put inside every night, the positive ones in one greenhouse and the negative ones in another. The trees are taken out the next day and positioned in different patterns for dogs to inspect throughout the day. When the dogs are brought out, even their trainers don’t know which trees are positive or negative. The trained dogs are more than 99 percent accurate.”

Link:

USDA Huanglongbing Multi Agency Coordination (MAC) Group Funded Projects: List for the Control and Mitigation of Huanglongbing FY 2015

More California Ag News

BIG WATER RALLY SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 16! Thousands Needed To Participate In Big Water Rally on Jan. 16  
Solano County 4-H Clubs Win Big at Skills Day When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Curd! Showmanship winner Tyler Scott of the Wolfskill 4-H Club DIXON--Tyler Scott of the...
California Ag News UC To Help Ranchers UC to Help Ranchers Survive Winter 2013-14 The first agricultural operations to feel the impact of a drought are dryland ranchers, many of whom r...
MONTEREY FARM BUREAU WARNS CPUC ON WATER ISSUES Desalination Plant Could Jeopardize Groundwater Supply California American Water could threaten the ground water supply of the Salinas Valley where u...