By Laurie Greene; Cal Ag Today Editor
Following the detection of an Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) south of the City of Bakersfield in Kern County, an additional portion of Kern County has been placed under quarantine for the ACP. Likewise, following the detection of psyllids in the City of San Jose near Kelly Park, the first detection of ACPs in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area, a portion of northwestern Santa Clara County has been placed under ACP quarantine.
The additional Kern County quarantine zone measures 148-square miles in and around the City of Bakersfield, bordering on the north by New Stine Road; on the east by S Vineland Road; on the south by Millux Road; and on the west by Interstate 5.
The Santa Clara County quarantine zone measures 99-square miles, bordered on the north by Alum Rock Park; on the south by Santa Teresa Blvd; on the west by N Monroe Street; and on the east by Joseph D Grant County Park.
The ACP is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species, such as curry trees, are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. Once a tree becomes infected, there is no cure; the diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies.
Though the ACP is a dangerous pest of citrus, the fruit is safe to eat and HLB is not harmful to human health, according to Joe Deviney, Santa Clara County Agricultural Commissioner.
Residents in the area who think they may have seen ACP or symptoms of HLB on their citrus trees are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. Residents with backyard citrus trees in the quarantine area are asked not to transport citrus fruit or leaves, potted citrus trees, or curry leaves from the quarantine area. For more information on the ACP and HLB, please visit the CDFA website.
Better yet, if your citrus fruit is misshapen or discolored or your citrus tree looks sick, send a photo with the new, free SAVE OUR CITRUS app from the USDA. Residents can easily report symptoms, upload a photo and receive a response back from citrus experts. The app includes information and diagnostic tools for all four leading citrus diseases: citrus greening, citrus canker, citrus black spot and sweet orange scab.
Elsewhere in the state, ACP quarantines are now in place in Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura, and portions of Fresno, Kern, and San Luis Obispo counties.
The disease itself, HLB, has been detected just once in California, in 2012, on a single residential property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, and is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S. Florida first detected the psyllid in 1998 and the disease in 2005, but the two have spread to all 30 citrus-producing counties in the state. The University of Florida estimates HLB has caused the loss of more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost grower revenue and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity. The HLB disease is also present in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas, and the ACP pest–but not the disease–detected in Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, and Mississippi.
(Photo Credit: UCANR)