September 11, 2013


Live Asian Citrus Psyllids Found

In Dinuba Residential Area

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

CDFA confirmed yesterday that two traps from two young residential citrus trees on the southeast side of the city limits of  Dinuba (Tulare County), had one Asian Citrus Psyllid adult. Immediately, inspectors went to the area where the traps had been hanging and found several live ACP adults along with live nymphs on a citrus tree two doors down from where the trapped Psyllids were found.

Tom Tucker, Assistant Tulare County Ag Commissioner, told California Ag Today that this find is the most profound in the valley as live Psyllids and nymphs have been observed, in fact too many to count.  Many were collected, and lab tests are being run to determine if they were carrying the bacteria that causes huanglongbing (HLB), a fatal citrus disease.

He noted that CDFA had a treatment crew in the area late on Tuesday spraying the trees where the live Psyllids were found.

Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center said, "The fact that inspectors found live ACPs on the tree is very troubling as it shows a breeding population. Because we see multiple life stages in the Dinuba area, it means they have had multiple generations and most likely have been around for a few months, and that means the adults could have spread to 'who knows how far'."

“It appears that the young trees may have been brought into the area from southern California citrus areas which are under a heavy quarantine. People should not be moving citrus material around the state. That message must get out,” Grafton-Cardwell said.

There is no commercial citrus immediately nearby, but Tucker noted this will soon turn into a five-mile radius quarantine that will stretch out into commercial citrus areas.

This comes after several trapped adults were found near Porterville in early July, as well as one trapped adult announced last week in Wasco (Kern County).

Tucker said that delimitation traps will be put out within nine square miles of the Dinuba finds. “We need to see if there are other Psyllids in the area and treat where necessary. These traps will be checked weekly,” Tucker said.

"Right now, intensive spraying will take place of all citrus trees within an 800-meter area around where the trapped and live Psyllids were found,” said Tucker.

The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB).  All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected.  The diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies.   To date, HLB has been detected oonly one property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles County.

“We want to emphasize citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health,” said Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita. “The Asian Citrus Psyllid is another example of the many invasive species that enter our state every year.”

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call the Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.  For more information on the Asian Citrus Psyllid and huanglongbing disease visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/.

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