Inspectors have found the first case of laurel wilt virus in a commercial avocado grove in Miami-Dade County, prompting an emergency meeting on Aug. 5.

Charles LaPradd, agricultural manager for Miami-Dade County, urges all growers, handlers, packers, shippers and grove maintenance personnel to attend the meeting.

It begins at 6:30 p.m., at the JOhn D. Campbell Agricultural Center, 18710 SW 288 St. in Homestead.

The agenda includes presentations by LaPradd; Division of Plant Industry director Richard Gaskalla; University of Florida experts Jonathan Crane, Randy Ploetz, Jorge Pena and Trevor Smith; and Don Stringer of the Miami-Dade County Fire Department.

The first case of Red-Bay Ambrosia Beetle/Laurel Wilt Virus was confirmed in a commercial grove in Miami-Dade County on July 28, 2009.    The Dade County Farm Bureau and Miami-Dade County Office of the Agricultural Manager are convening an emergency meeting for the avocado industry.  

If you suspect laurel wilt virus in your avocado trees, contact the Division of Plant Industry at (888) 397-1517.

For more information on the meeting, contact the Dade County Farm Bureau at (305) 246-5514.

Laurel wilt virus infects red bay, avocados and other members of the laurel family.

It is caused by a fungus that is carried by the redbay ambrosia beetle. The fungus stops the flow of water in the tree, causing wilting.

It was first confirmed in the United States in 2002 and in Florida in 2005. It is now found in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

Read more about the find in The Packer.

For more information on laurel wilt, click here.