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NEW TULARE COUNTY ASIAN CITRUS PSYLLID DETECTION NEAR TERRA BELLA

Citrus pests have been found near Stathmore and now Terra Bella

Tulare, CA. November 27, 2012

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner’s office is announcing that an additional Asian citrus psyllid detection has occurred approximately one mile south of the community of Terra Bella. The detection was confirmed last week, bringing the number of psyllids found in Tulare County to three, including two detected previously in the Strathmore area.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, in cooperation with the agricultural commissioner’s office, is beginning to plan residential treatment programs in the county. More details will be provided at an informational open house scheduled for residents of the Strathmore area on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at the Grand Avenue United Methodist, Fireside Room, 776 West Grand Avenue, Porterville, CA 93257, from 5:30pm – 7:00pm. An evaluation of quarantine regulations for Tulare County continues and will include the latest detection.

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 the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“The Asian citrus psyllid is a dangerous pest of citrus, “said Marilyn Kinoshita, Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner.  “We’re working to determine the full extent of this infestation so that we can protect our state’s vital citrus industry as well as our residential citrus trees.  We want to emphasize that citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health. The Asian citrus psyllid is another example of the many invasive species that enter our state every year.”

The state of 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 the state of Florida.  The pest and disease are also present in Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.  The states of Hawaii, Mississippi, Arizona, and Alabama have detected the pest but not the disease.

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.  For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/.

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