The Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office announced that six additional Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) were detected on three traps south of the city of Porterville in July. These interceptions were confirmed by the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA), bringing the number of psyllids found in Tulare County to nine.
CDFA saturated the affected area with detection traps in order to determine the extent of any infestation. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.
“Thanks to the responsiveness and cooperation of our farmers and their neighbors, we were able to do away with ACP restrictions in mid-June, so it is very disappointing to have new detections pop up so quickly,” said Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita.
The Asian citrus psyllid is an invasive species of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening. All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health, producing bitter, misshaped fruit until it dies. To date, HLB has been detected in the state on just one residential property in the city of Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles County.
Kinoshita points out that her staff will support the efforts of the local $750 million citrus industry, as well as residential citrus owners.
“I want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health,” she said. “The Asian citrus psyllid is another example of the many invasive species that enter our state every year.”
County residents who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call CDFA’s Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899 or the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner. More information is available at http://agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us.