Another citrus psyllid discovered in Orange Belt
Residential spraying meeting tonight
A third, and game changing, Asian citrus psyllid was discovered in a trap south of Terra Bella, county and state ag officials announced today.
The discovery is the third this year and definitely puts in motion a citrus quarantine that was expected to be announced this week. That announcement may be delayed a few days because officials now must rethink the boundaries that were expected to be roughly a 20-mile radius around the find earlier this month of a psyllid in a trap northeast of Strathmore.
Steve Lyle, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said the newest discovery means that the boundary will have to be re-examined and likely expanded further south.
The tiny pest can transmit the tree disease Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, that has already caused great devastation to the citrus industry in Florida and parts of Texas. The disease does not affect the fruit, but can kill trees in less than five years. There is no cure for the bacterial disease.
Treatment of backyard citrus will begin soon, said Lyle, and there is a meeting at 5:30 tonight (Tuesday night) at the Grand Avenue Methodist Church, 776 W. Grand Avenue, to discuss how treatments will be conducted on private property. The meeting is open to the public.
The first psyllid was discovered in the county in late December near Lindsay.
The discoveries are in glassy-winged sharpshooter traps, another citrus pest, and Lyle explained that is why there is a time lag between when the trap is collected and the discovery is announced. He said they first inspect the trap for the sharpshooter, then other pests.
Hundreds of psyllid traps have been deployed in the county.
Citrus is a $700 million industry in Tulare County and harvesting of the 2012-13 crop has just begun. The quarantine will not affect the sale or movement of packed fruit.
Residents who believe they have seen evidence of HLB in local citrus trees, should call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899.