- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
The Los Angeles Times yesterday ran a story about an exotic pest that is knocking on Southern California's door -- the Asian citrus psyllid. The pest was found in Tijuana backyard trees just blocks from the border. California citrus growers fear the psyllid's ability to spread citrus greening disease from tree to tree. Citrus greening causes trees to produce small, discolored and bitter fruit; and then eventually, the tree dies. There is no known cure.
Stephanie Klunk of the UC IPM program distributed a release on the threat two weeks ago. Both articles included comment from UC Riverside citrus entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell.
She told the LA Times that the psyllid probably has already crossed the border in cut flowers or oranges smuggled for sale at swap meets. The disease may be "in some backyard tree that someone brought in from Asia. It could be a time bomb just waiting for a psyllid," she was quoted.
Details about the pest and disease are on Grafton-Cardwell's citrus entomology Web site.