“What they are really doing is buying time until disease resistant trees become available, or there is some treatment for the (huanglongbing) disease,” said Matt Daugherty, a UC Cooperative Extension entomology specialist based at UC Riverside.
The reporter also spoke to Beth Grafton-Cardwell, who is a UCCE entomology specialist at UC Riverside and director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center in Tulare County. She said that it is unlikely huanglongbing was completely wiped out in the Southern California areas where infected trees have been found, even though CDFA destroyed the infected trees.
A tree can be infected for a year before it shows symptoms, she said.
Grafton-Cardwell asks homeowners to monitor backyard trees for signs of Asian citrus psyllid and report any finds to CDFA or their county agricultural commissioner's office. For more information, see the video below.
"Basically, you just look really closely (at new growth) with any kind of magnifying device you have to see if you can find any insects on there," Grafton-Cardwell said.
If tiny yellow eggs, sesame seed-sized nymphs, or ACP adults are found, take action. Maps, treatment protocols and other information that detail what to do when ACP is present are available at http://ucanr.edu/acp.
Since ACP can spread the devastating citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB), controlling the insect population will buy time for researchers working around the world to find a way to grow healthy and delicious citrus fruit in the presence of HLB.
Yurong reported that the disease has been found in a dozen Southern California trees. Grafton-Cardwell figures Valley trees will ultimately get infected.
“It's really important to detect Asian citrus psyllid in backyard trees because one psyllid can carry the disease from tree to tree in a residential landscape,” Windbiel-Rojas. “Citrus growers, they treat all their fields, but home gardeners don't necessarily treat or monitor their backyard trees so it can spread a lot faster in backyards than in managed citrus orchards.”
Stories about the call to check trees this spring for Asian citrus psyllid also appeared in:
- El Informador del Valle
- The Porterville Recorder
- Monterey County Herald
- Turlock Journal
- Santa Cruz Sentinel
- Morning Ag Clips
- Hoy, a Los Angeles Times Spanish language publication
- Valley Public Radio, Fresno
- AgNewsWest newsletter
- California Department of Food and Agriculture Planting Seeds Blog
- Inland News Today, Riverside
- East County Magazine, San Diego
- Highland Community News, Highland
- Central Valley Business Times, Fresno
- KXO Radio, Imperial
- AgNetWest.com, California
- UC Office of the President News Page, Oakland
View a four-minute video about Asian citrus psyllid here:
Anandasankar Ray, professor in the Department of Entomology at UCR, along with two other researchers, published results recently that Ray believes are promising enough they may soon be adapted for grower use.
Ray and his team tested three attractant odors in El Monte backyards using yellow sticky traps. More than twice the number of psyllids were found in the scented traps compared to unscented traps, the article said. In time the researchers will also test chemicals that can mask odors that are pleasant to Asian citrus psyllids and some that repel the insects.
Other research projects underway at UC Riverside to combat Asian citrus psyllid and the disease it can spread were also noted in the Press-Enterprise article. They are: biological controls, including a tiny wasp imported from Pakistan that feeds on the psyllids; insecticides; developing resistant strains of citrus trees; finding a way to kill the bacteria spread by psyllids once it is in the tree; and discovering ways to identify diseased trees earlier.
Yesterday, the Farm Bureau of Ventura County hosted a meeting where the California Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee updated the community on efforts to control the devastating citrus pest. In addition to the residential releases of the imported natural enemy of ACP – known as Tamarixia radiata – the state is also preparing to invite organic commercial producers to request releases in their groves.
“We have referred one grower in the Bardsdale area, where an ACP population unfortunately appears to have become well established,” said John Krist, chief executive officer of the Farm Bureau of Ventura County.
The research effort is led by Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside. The UC Hansen Fund provided nearly $53,000 to Hoddle to fund work on biological control of ACP.
“The work Hansen funded will play a key role in the ACP suppression program throughout California, and it will become integral to the IPM program for commercial operations that Ventura County pioneered,” Krist said.
According to the LA Times article, USDA said it would set aside $1.5 million to scale up breeding and release efforts in California, Texas and Florida. An additional $125 million appropriated by Congress will be spent over the next five years to fund research into other methods to contain the spread of the disease.
"I think it's an excellent idea," Hoddle said.
The expansion will allow the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ramp up the scale of the breeding program.
Tiny 'vampire' wasps take on invasive citrus psyllid
Sanden Totten, Southern California Public Radio KPCC 89.3
Fighting Bugs with Bugs: Hatching A Solution for Troubled Trees
Steven Jackson, The Salt - What's on Your Plate, NPR
They've established a quarantine zone within a five-mile radius of the ACP find and monitoring has been stepped up in the area. Officials are concerned because of the psyllid's ability to spread huanglongbing disease, should the disease make its way into California. (So far, only one backyard tree has been found in California infected with huanglongbing.)
“If you don't have a vector like a psyllid, no big deal, but when you have a vector alive and moving around, then you have a big problem,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside.
The psyllid is established in some areas of Southern California and has been found in commercial orchards in the San Joaquin Valley, where an eradication plan is underway. In San Luis Obispo County, the main focus is on residential areas.
“It's so tiny that people don't even know they have it,” Grafton-Cardwell said. “It's very difficult to completely eradicate it because 60 percent of California [residences] have a citrus tree in their yard, so it can hop, skip, and jump.”
Comprehensive information about Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease is available on the UC ACP/HLB Distribution and Management website.