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More citrus pests found in SLO County 

Asian Citrus Psyllid

Asian citrus psyllid. Image from Wikipedia.

High density insect trapping and visual surveys conducted in response to the detection of an adult Asian citrus psyllid in a residential neighborhood in San Luis Obispo has resulted in the discovery of additional Asian citrus psyllids.

Multiple psyllid life stages were found at three additional properties located approximately one quarter to one third mile from the original site in the north eastern part of the city of San Luis Obispo. Asian citrus psyllid is an insect that could spread Huanglongbing, also called citrus greening disease, a plant disease that is fatal to all types of citrus trees. A single citrus tree infected with Huanglongbing was found in a Los Angeles County backyard in 2012. To date no additional detections of the disease in California have occurred. The disease does not affect human health.

Quarantines restricting the movement of citrus nursery stock and citrus fruit will be established by the California Department of Food and Agriculture to prevent the spread of this serious plant pest. Control efforts are currently underway in the area immediately surrounding all detection sites.

“The discovery of multiple life stages at multiple sites is of serious concern to local citrus producers, residents and regulatory officials. Local commercial citrus orchards were valued at over $13 million in 2013,” according to Martin Settevendemie, Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer for San Luis Obispo County.

Staff from the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office and officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture continue to search for this pest by monitoring hundreds of insect traps placed in urban neighborhoods and commercial orchards throughout the county.

Community members can do the following to protect backyard citrus trees and the local citrus industry:

  • Buy local. Purchase citrus trees from reputable local sources selling plants that have been routinely inspected by the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff.
  • Do not transport citrus plants or plant parts into the county from quarantine areas. Call 805-781-5910 for information about quarantine areas.
  • Check residential landscaping often for signs of unusual symptoms or strange insects. Contact the local University of California Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener Program at 805-781-5939 for help identifying unusual plant symptoms or pests.
  • If asked, allow the Agricultural Commissioner’s staff to place an insect trap in your yard and cooperate with officials if it becomes necessary to exclude or eliminate Asian Citrus Psyllid from San Luis Obispo County.

For more information about the Asian citrus psyllid visit the California Department of Food and Agriculture website at http://www.cdfa.ca.gov.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.