Citrus Trucks Will be Tarped
January 9, 2017
Tarped Citrus Trucks Will Fight ACP
By Melissa Moe, Associate Editor
In the ongoing battle against Asian Citrus Psyllids, an insect that is known to vector the fatal Huanglongbing disease in citrus, the California Department of Food & Agriculture has issued a new regulation to require trucks to be tarped when moving citrus. This regulation will be phased in and permit holders will be notified by CDFA.
Joel Nelsen, president of the California Citrus Mutual, explained that the regulation will prevent the spread of this vector-transmitted pathogen. “What we discovered is that psyllids were flying towards fruit sitting in trucks and bins as they were being transited from Southern California to the San Joaquin Valley, because of the aromas that the fruit gives off,” he said.
Fruit is not considered to be a vector of Huanglongbing since ACP can only vector the disease through leaves and twigs. However, these pests are catching rides on trucks all over the state on the fruit that was considered to be relatively safe.
“What happens is the Asian Citrus Psyllid is attracted to the aroma coming off of the orange, and it flies towards it thinking it's going to find a food source,” Nelsen said. “Well, it rides around on the orange for a couple of hours, until it figures out that there's no green waste or twigs attached to that fruit, and then it flies off.”
Fruit that is being transported from Bakersfield to Fresno could be taking these hitchhiking pests anywhere along Highway 99. While on this joyride, they could go up and down 5, across 126, or across 10 from Southern California into the San Joaquin Valley. News of new ACP finds have been right along these traveling corridors.
“We discovered that we may be part of the problem in helping Asian Citrus Psyllids spread, or have a hitchhiker role,” Nelsen said. “We made that determination as a result of some research done by the University of California. We ended up talking to growers at seven different grower meetings; several hundred in total were participating in the discussions. We all came to the conclusion that it's going to cost us some money now, but it's better than costing us the industry later.”