On September 24, the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office announced that one additional Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) had been detected on a trap south of the city of Exeter. Six days later, two additional ACP were detected on traps north of Eckert Field near Strathmore and northeast of Ducor.
These detections were confirmed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), which continues to utilize traps and surveys of the county in order to determine the extent of these infestations. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and CDFA will work collaboratively to determine what steps are taken next.
“It is very disappointing to hear that psyllids are being moved into a new part of our county,” said Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita, who pointed out that every resident of Tulare County plays a vital role in assuring that ACP is not spread from other parts of the state. “One of my neighbors brought over a plastic bag containing citrus fruit and leaves, which showed signs of scale infestation.” She added that she wanted to be cautious and not cause harm for our local citrus producers.
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 on just one residential property in Hacienda Heights, a city in Los Angeles County.
Kinoshita points out that her staff will support the efforts of our $750 million citrus industry, as well as our residential citrus owners. “I want to emphasize that every citizen of our county plays a role in assuring that ACP is not spread from other parts of the state.”
Maps and current information are available on the Agricultural Commissioner’s website by visiting http://agcomm.co.tulare.ca.us/default/. Residents in the area 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.