- Author: Chris M. Webb
Today we share a recent press release. The Ventura County Master Gardeners are working hard to educate home gardeners about the Asian citrus psyllid and the deadly bacterial disease it carries.
Residents of Ventura County are asked to be on the lookout for a tiny insect that could wipe out California’s citrus industry — and with it, every lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit and mandarin tree in every urban and suburban yard.
This tiny insect, known as the Asian citrus psyllid (SIL-lid), carries a bacterial disease that is harmless to humans but inevitably fatal to all varieties of citrus. There is no treatment or cure. The disease has already destroyed millions of trees in citrus-producing regions around the world, including Florida.
The pest has been found in San Diego, Imperial, Orange and Los Angeles counties, and is expected to reach Ventura County this year. The disease is not far behind — infected trees have been found in western Mexico, and the disease is moving steadily closer to California.
The only way to stop this plague is to quickly find and kill the insect pest whenever it reaches a new area. If you have citrus trees in your yard, inspect them often. The insect feeds on the new leaves and stems of all citrus varieties. Twisted, stunted new growth is a sign your tree may be infested by the psyllid, which looks like a small, brown grain of rice. You may also notice the tiny nymphs feeding on tender young growth. Look for sticky white secretions, like honeydew, or sooty mold clinging to the leaves.
If you think you have spotted this invasive pest in your trees, report the sighting immediately by calling 1-800-491-1899.
For more information about the pest and the disease it carries, call the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force at 805-535-8641, or visit their Facebook page.