Laurel wilt disease has caused the death of more than 300 million laurel trees in the United States. This is devastating to the Florida avocado orchards since the Avocado tree is in the Laurel family. Avocado’s are the second largest crop for Southern Florida with the citrus industry being the first.
The problem with this disease is that it kills the trees quickly once they are infected. In order to save the trees the disease must be detected before external symptoms surface. To combat the disease, researchers from the Florida International University have trained three Dutch Shepherds to detect the disease before symptoms appear. So far the dogs have been a stellar success, proving again that dogs can help with many different jobs.
Dogs have been used for years to detect agricultural products entering airports, so it is no surprise that they can detect the Laurel Wilt disease.