- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The detection will trigger a quarantine, the agency said. No host nursery stock may be moved out of the area and all citrus fruit must be cleaned of leaves and stems before it is shipped to market.
The psyllid was found Dec. 16 in the La Conchita area in the northern part of the county, reported The Packer. The pest was in a trap in a small citrus grove at least 20 miles from the closest major commercial groves.
The discovery of the destructive bug has rattled the agricultural community, according to an article in the Ventura County Star. The county ag commissioner reported that the county’s citrus industry had revenues of $145 million in 2009. Lemons, grown on 17,703 acres, are the main citrus crop, valued at nearly $130 million.
Asian citrus psyllid is 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 until it dies. HLB has not been detected in trapped Asian citrus psyllids or trees in California.
A Los Angeles Times article about the find said that, according to UC Cooperative Extension research, Florida is losing as much as 12 percent of its citrus production annually because of the insect and the disease.