- Author: Chris M. Webb
Research to fight Huanglongbing (HLB), the deadly citrus disease carried by the Asian citrus psyllid, is taking place throughout our nation and the world. Industry-wide urgency is funding a variety of research in search of a solution.
In 2010 a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded that genetic engineering “holds the greatest hope”. A promising genetic engineering study, developed by a scientist at Texas A&M’s Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center is moving into the field testing stage.
Using spinach defensin proteins to help protect citrus trees and then exposing the trees to the bacterium, lab and greenhouse studies show infection rates are very low even when the trees are exposed to higher concentrations of infected insects then would be found in a commercial grove. The type of defensing protein used in the study can be found in plants, insects and mammals.
To learn more please see the AP article, Spinach could be weapon against citrus scourge.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Huanglongbing (HLB) the deadly disease carried by the Asian citrus psyllid has recently been detected in Los Angeles County.
UCCE Ventura County Farm Advisor Ben Faber, stresses that people are responsible for much of the movement of ACP. On their own, this insect roughly the size of a grain of rice, can travel about a mile over their lifetime.
The health of citrus trees, and the health of our local citrus industry, largely depends on the responsible handling and movement of plant materials and fruit. This is of particular importance when traveling out of the county, state or country.
Please see the message below from the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture).
CITRUS DISEASE HUANGLONGBING DETECTED IN HACIENDA HEIGHTS AREA OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY
SACRAMENTO, March 30, 2012 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) today confirmed the state’s first detection of the citrus disease known as huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening. The disease was detected in an Asian citrus psyllid sample and plant material taken from a lemon/pummelo tree in a residential neighborhood in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles County.
HLB is a bacterial disease that attacks the vascular system of plants. It does not pose a threat to humans or animals. The Asian citrus psyllid can spread the bacteria as the pest feeds on citrus trees and other plants. Once a tree is infected, there is no cure; it typically declines and dies within a few years.
“Citrus is not just a part of California’s agricultural economy; it’s a cherished part of our landscape and our shared history,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “CDFA is moving swiftly to protect the state’s citrus growers as well as our residential trees and the many prized citrus plantings in our parks and other public lands. We have been planning and preparing for this scenario with our growers and our colleagues at the federal and local levels since before the Asian citrus psyllid was first detected here in 2008.”
Officials are making arrangements to remove and dispose of the infected tree and conduct treatment of citrus trees within 800 meters of the find site. By taking these steps, a critical reservoir of disease and its vectors will be removed, which is essential. More information about the program will be provided at an informational open house scheduled for Thursday, April 5, at the Industry Hills Expo Center, The Avalon Room, 16200 Temple Avenue, City of Industry, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.
Treatment for HLB will be conducted with the oversight of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA) and will be conducted safely, with advance and follow-up notices provided to residents in the treatment area.
An intensive survey of local citrus trees and psyllids is underway to determine the source and extent of the HLB infestation. Planning has begun for a quarantine of the infested area to limit the spread of the disease by restricting the movement of citrus trees, citrus plant parts, green waste, and all citrus fruit except what is commercially cleaned and packed. As part of the quarantine, citrus and closely related plants at nurseries in the area will be placed on hold.
Residents of quarantine areas are urged not to remove or share citrus fruit, trees, clippings/grafts or related plant material. Citrus fruit may be harvested and consumed on-site.
CDFA, in partnership with the USDA, local agricultural commissioners and the citrus industry, continues to pursue a strategy of controlling the spread of Asian citrus psyllids while researchers work to find a cure for the disease.
HLB is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern U.S. Florida first detected the pest in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have now been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties in that state. The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity. The pest and the disease are also present in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina. The states of Arizona, Mississippi and Alabama have detected the pest but not the disease.
The Asian citrus psyllid was first detected in California in 2008, and quarantines are now in place in Ventura, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. If Californians believe they have seen evidence of HLB in local citrus trees, they are asked to please call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/acp/
- Author: Chris M. Webb
The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) continues to be found in several California counties. New finds are being made on a weekly basis. Ventura County and others with this pest remain in quarantine, which means fruit and plant material movement is restricted in these counties.
UC researchers have begun releasing Tamarixia radiate in Riverside County and soon into Los Angeles county. Tamarixia radiate is a tiny wasp and a natural enemy of ACP. Details of the release and the program can be found on the ANR News Blog.
Invasive species cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage annually. As with all invasive species, it is primarily people who are responsible for ACP’s movement. Please do what you can to avoid moving these pests.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
On March 21, 2011 the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force sponsored a workshop for citrus growers, nursery operators and pest control advisors.
The presentations from the workshop have been archived on our website with sound. Titles and presenters are as follows:
- ACP update and overview of treatment protocol for commercial orchards: Beth Grafton-Cardwell, IPM Specialist and Research Entomologist, University of California’s Kearney Agricultural Center, and Director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center.
- Research update regarding biocontrol of psyllids: Raju Pandey, UC Riverside Department of Entomology.
- Research update regarding chemical control of psyllids: Joseph Morse, UC Riverside Department of Entomology.
Please click here to access the workshop recordings.
- Author: Chris M. Webb
Recent finds of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) have triggered a quarantine for Ventura County. ACP has the potential to spread Huanglongbing (HLB), a bacterium fatal to citrus trees and closely related plants. This pest-disease complex has created havoc in citrus producing regions around the world. Early detection and treatment is of utmost importance in preventing the establishment of this destructive pest in our area.
Long before the local arrival of ACP, the Ventura County ACP-HLB Task Force was created to help educate commercial and home citrus growers. At this time the Task Force is coordinating with sate and local agricultural officials to ensure accurate and timely information continues to reach citizens and industry personnel.
In addition to the ACP-HLB Task Force local industry and residents alike can find much additional support. The situation remains fluid. Please do your part to help control this pest. It is vital to check trees regularly and follow quarantine protocols. As of today the following agencies and departments are available to provide assistance:
- Growers, packinghouse managers and nursery operators with questions about the quarantine or compliance agreements can contact the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) Cooperative ACP Quarantine Project at 555 Airport Way, Suite C in Camarillo. They can be reached by phone at (805) 388-4222.
- The Agricultural Commissioner’s Office can also provide information on quarantine and compliance agreements and can be reached at (805) 477-1620. Their website also has information for commercial and residential growers.
- To report suspected ACP finds (commercial and residential) please call the CDFA hotline at (800) 491-1899.
- General questions about Task Force activities, including upcoming workshops, can be answered by calling the Task Force hotline at (805) 535-8641 or the Farm Bureau at (805) 289-0155.
A free workshop for commercial growers, nursery stock producers, and PCAs is scheduled for March 21. Please don’t forget to reserve your spot by calling (805) 289-0155 no later than March 14.