RIVERSIDE – A third backyard citrus tree in the city of Riverside has tested positive for citrus greening, a deadly disease for citrus plants that can be transmitted from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid, state and federal officials have confirmed.
Citrus greening, known as huanglongbing or HLB, was first confirmed in Riverside on July 25. The latest confirmation came Thursday (9/28).The initial sample was from a grapefruit tree in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Chicago and Marlborough avenues. This latest detection was also in a backyard a little more than a half-mile away.
In cooperation with the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner's Office and USDA, CDFA continues to survey and treat citrus trees found on properties within 800 meters of these infected trees. Crews will immediately remove and dispose of the diseased. Those steps will remove a critical reservoir of the disease and vectors that can spread the disease, an essential tactic in protecting nearby citrus.
The bacterial disease attacks plants' vascular system but does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria when the pest moves from one location to another, feeding on citrus trees and other plants. Once a tree is infected there is no cure and it typically declines and dies within a few years.
HLB has been found in Mexico and in parts of the southern United States. Florida first detected the pest in 1998 and the disease in 2005. The University of Florida estimates that the disease causes an average loss of 7,513 jobs per year, and has cost growers $3 billion in revenue since it was first detected there. The Asian citrus psyllid was first found in California in 2008.
A quarantine has been established, prohibiting the sale of all host nursery stock and the movement of all host plants and fruits within a five-mile radius of the find. It applies to residents and commercial operations alike.