Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Established in San Luis Obispo County

Breaking News: NEW ACP Discovery


Victoria Hornbaker, APHIS Citrus Program Manager, announced TODAY the first confirmed Asian citrus psyllid find in San Luis Obispo County as reported in a San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner’s press release.


Hornbaker also announced a Science Advisory Panel Report Stakeholder meeting will be held on April 16, 2014 at 9 am at CDFA headquarters, 1220 N Street, Room 220, Sacramento, CA 95814. To participate via conference call, please call 866-692-3158 and use participant code 87947483.

The meeting agenda follows this article.

Martin Settevendemie, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer, County of San Luis Obispo announced detection of an adult Asian Citrus Psyllid in an insect trap on March 26th in a residential landscape near Arroyo Grande. The discovery prompted a high-density trapping delimitation survey of the immediate and adjacent area – about a nine square mile area – and no other ACPs were found.

A quarantine restricting the movement of citrus nursery stock and citrus fruit within a five-mile radius around the detection site has already been established by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to prevent the spread of this serious plant pest. “We are working with growers to get everyone in compliance with the regulation. This will help them understand what the requirements are to move any product outside of the quarantine area,” said Settevendemie.San Luis Obispo County Ag Commissioner Logo

CDFA announced that they will be conducting spray eradication treatments approximately 800 meters around the detection to eradicate this pest.

The first detection of the Asian Citrus Psyllid in California occurred in San Diego County in 2008. Since then, it has been found throughout southern California.

“This insect pest is of serious concern to California’s commercial citrus because it is responsible for spreading Huanglongbing, also called citrus greening disease, a plant disease that is fatal to all types of citrus trees. This includes citrus trees in countless landscapes across the county as well as local commercial citrus orchards valued at over $13 million in 2013,” according to Settevendemie.

Over the past ten years nearly 50% of the commercial citrus groves in Florida have been killed by this disease. The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity for the state. The disease does not affect human health.

A single orange tree infected with Huanglongbing was found in a Los Angeles County backyard in 2012. To date no additional detections of the disease in California have occurred.

Staff from the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office and officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture continue to search for this pest by monitoring hundreds of insect traps placed in urban neighborhoods and commercial orchards throughout the county.

“It is difficult to close off all potential pest pathways into the county. An engaged community of all county residents is critical in successfully excluding pests such as Asian Citrus Psyllid,” said Settevendemie.

Community members can do the following to protect backyard citrus trees and the local citrus industry:

        Buy Local! Purchase citrus trees from reputable local sources selling plants that have been routinely inspected by the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff.
        Do not transport citrus plants or plant parts into the county from quarantine areas. Call 805- 781-5910 for information about quarantine areas.
        Check residential landscaping often for signs of unusual symptoms or strange insects. Contact the local University of California Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program at 805-781-5939 for help in identification of unusual plant symptoms or pests.
        If asked, allow the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff to place an insect trap in your yard and cooperate with officials if it becomes necessary to exclude or eliminate Asian Citrus Psyllid from San Luis Obispo County.

For more information about the Asian Citrus Psyllid visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture website or the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer’s website.



AGENDA FOR: ACP/HLB Ad Hoc Science Advisory Panel Report

Stakeholder Review/Conference Call

April 16, 2014, 9:00 a.m.


Call-in number: 866-692-3158

Passcode: 87947483

– This meeting is open to the General Public –



1. Call to order, introductions – Jason Leathers

2. Review of Science Advisory Panel Questions and Answers

3. Review of Science Advisory Panel Report

a. Rapid Detection of HLB Infected Trees and/or Psyllids

b. Longitudinal Study being Conducted at the UC Davis Containment Facility

c. Potential for Movement of CLas Infected ACP with Fruit Movement

d. Recommendations Regarding Areawide ACP Treatment Program

e. Recommendations Affecting Quarantine Area

f. Recommendations Affecting Citrus Nurseries

4. Additional Questions/Review Items



Fresno County on Alert for ACP

Assemblyman Jim Patterson

Assemblyman Jim Patterson hosted the Citrus Industry Town Hall this morning at the Fresno County Farm Bureau office to discuss the current state of the Asian Citrus Psyllid presence in California, the quarantine situation, how Fresno County is preparing for the possible migration of ACP into the county, and how agencies, growers, and the state and federal governments are cooperating to control its spread in California.

Over forty people attended the meeting, including growers, PCAs, local government and industry leaders, researchers, and media.

Fresno County is the fourth largest citrus-producing county in California, having dropped in status due to freeze-damaged mandarin acreage last year, according to Les Wright, Fresno County Ag Commissioner.
Les Wright
“ACP spread is one of the most serious problems facing valley citrus growers especially those in the south valley,” said Wright.
To date, all contiguous counties in southern California are under CDFA Quarantine, as well the Porterville area of Tulare County, to prevent movement of ACP-ridden leaves and plant debris and unsanitary ag equipment into non-infested regions of the state and to bide time for agency mobilization and industry research to catch up. The effort also aims to prevent ACP from finding HLB-infected trees and spreading the incurable disease.
Though presently under quarantine, the effort in southern California to stop the spread of ACP, it was emphasized, was NOT a failure; rather, it bought precious time for other regions to prepare, and while many treatments did not work, other regions are learning from their attempts.
Creative Solutions
Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell

Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC IPM Specialist and Research Entomologist, recently studied ACP found in Texas and Florida and reported that local agencies here are following Florida’s lead in organizing grower groups and local neighbors to treat their trees simultaneously.

She said that researchers are looking for natural processes, among others, to control ACP populations.
Victoria Hornbaker, CDFA, Program Coordinator, gave the example of Dr. Mark Hoddle, Extension Specialist and Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside, who is working towards the massive release of Tamarixia radiata wasps, a natural predator of ACP, found in Pakistan. In studies of small releases of T. radiata, the wasps were found outside the areas where they were released—a good indication of their hardiness and potential effectiveness against ACP.

Victoria Hornbaker

While there is no cure for HLB thus far, researchers are looking at altering the ACP so it cannot pick up HLB disease, inserting a gene so it cannot carry HLB, and creating disease-resistant plants.

Organic insecticides against ACP are short-lived, so they must be applied more frequently than their conventional counterparts. Thus, organic farmers must be more aggressive in their treatments.
UC Davis is studying new efficacious organic products.
If an organic farm were in an eradication zone, the grower would be required to use conventional products, losing organic status for one year. Without compliance, the property would be abated.
It is recommended that when a grower sprays for a different pest, they should choose a product that also works on ACP.
Eradication and management strategies differ according to season.
Product spraying frequency and product choice are delicate decisions so as not to cause resistance in ACP.
Expert dog sniffers can detect the presence of ACP, and have detected infested shipments that were subsequently destroyed. California is vigilant at all points of entry including airports, border traffic, and ports. Not all counties have expert canines; however, Fresno has one such specialist. The USDA also provides dogs, one of which works in Fresno.
Take Action Now
Start sampling now.
Do not rely on (color-saturated) yellow-sticky traps for detection. Remember that psyllids are attracted to citrus trees, which have both color and scent.
ACP likes an orchard’s edges, so test for their presence around a field’s perimeter, as well as down the center for good measure.
Go to the following websites for information, quarantine maps, crop protection cost-effectiveness:
·       CDFAWebsite
In the event a homeowner or grower suspects ACP on their property, take the bug, if possible, put it in alcohol, and contact the Fresno County Farm Bureau; Sylvie Robillard, Fresno County Grower Liaison; the CDFA Hotline, 1-800-481-1899 or your local Ag commissioner (if outside Fresno County).
Joel Nelson
Joel Nelson, California Citrus Mutual, President, commented, “If it weren’t serious, it would be exciting” due to the talent of the people involved in the fight to suppress the ACP and thereby avoid HLB disaster in the state. With southern California producing $750,000 and the Central Valley producing $1.5 billion in citrus, California is the largest citrus-producing state in the country, providing 85% of the country’s fresh citrus.
Stopping the spread of ACP and eradicating Huanglongbing (HLB) is among the top five priorities of the USDA. The federal government has contributed $10 million to the California program toward that end.
A coalition of groups is conducting a public relations campaign starting in southern California that includes distribution of bookmarks and brochures (in several languages) that have a little magnifying glass inside to detect ACP; enlisting legislators and box stores, among others, to help spread information; and launching a PSA next week featuring Citrus Grower Kevin Severns speaking about this crucial situation.There are 6 versions of the PSA on CCM’s YouTube Channel.
Nelson emphasized that every step this coalition in California takes is globally unprecedented. And the government is flexible and ready to adopt new strategies; using this effort in California as a model for other programs planned to eradicate foreign invading pests.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson concluded by acknowledging, “Agriculture is more than a livelihood; it‘s a life.”