Asian Citrus Psyllid Quarantine Expanding in Cali

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The California Department of Food and Agriculture added more area to the Asian citrus psyllid quarantine zones established in Tulare and Kern counties on Tuesday. The bug has also been detected in Dinuba and Wasco counties.

The dreaded Asian citrus psyllid is sap-sucking, hemipteran insect from the family Psyllidae, and is one of the two known vectors of Huanglongbing Disease ("Yellow Dragon Disease" in Chinese), or "greening disease," a serious citrus malady. The Asian pest can also be detected in parts of the Middle East, South and Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and the U.S. In the whole of the United States and its territories, anywhere the Asian citrus psyllid is found is put under quarantine. The bug was first detected in Florida in 1998, and now exists in Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Arizona, Hawaii, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and Southern California.

The quarantine zones in Tulare and Kern counties have been expanded to 90 and 88 miles respectively. The quarantine doesn't allow any host nursery stock to be moved outside of the zone, and requires all commercial citrus fruit to to be cleaned of stems and leaves. Area residents with backyard citrus trees, up to 60% have them, have been asked not to move any off of their property. A permit to move budwood and stock grown in USDA-approved anti-psyllid structures can be obtained.

Elsewhere in California, Asian citrus psyllid quarantines are now up in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, all citrus plants are susceptible to HLB (huanglongbing), and there's no cure once a tree is infected. A diseased tree will eventually wither and die. The University of Florida estimates the disease has been responsible for 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to farmers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity. HLB is present in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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