• Asian citrus psyllids continue to be found in Fresno County and a quarantine has been expanded.
• Those inside the quarantine area are prohibited from moving citrus and plant material outside of the designated area.
• Homeowners’ and farmers’ citrus trees are potentially at risk of being infected with a deadly plant disease if the Asian citrus psyllid is allowed to spread.
Two more Asian citrus psyllids have been found near Orange Cove, prompting the California Department of Food and Agriculture to expand a protective zone in the area.
The latest find comes a month after state agriculture inspectors found several other of the insects in the area. Last month, a quarantine was established in the hopes of stopping the spread of the bugs. The psyllid is considered one of the citrus industry’s most dangerous pests because of its potential for carrying the deadly plant disease huanglongbing.
With the discovery of two more psyllids near Orange Cove, state agriculture officials extended the quarantine 50 square miles for a total of 84 square miles in Fresno County. All of Tulare County is under quarantine as a result of previous ACP detections.
The new quarantine area in Fresno County is bordered on the north by Kings Canyon Road, on the south by the Fresno County boundary line, on the west by Alta Avenue and on the east by an unnamed creek.
The quarantine prohibits the movement of citrus and curry tree nursery stock out of the protective area and requires that all citrus fruit be free from Asian citrus psyllid before being moved out of the area. An exception may be made for nursery stock and budwood grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved structures that are designed to keep psyllids and other insects out.
Farmers and citrus industry officials are hopeful they can keep the disease from taking root in the San Joaquin Valley, the premier citrus growing region in the state. Statewide, California’s citrus industry is valued at more than $2 billion. Florida, the nation’s top orange juice producer, has been decimated by the disease. Nearly every citrus-growing region in Florida has become infected.
Tulare County joins eight other counties that have countywide quarantines in place, including Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernandino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Portions of Fresno, Kern, Madera, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo and Santa Clara counties are also under quarantine.
Residents in the area who think they have may have seen the psyllid or symptoms of the disease on their trees are urged to call CDFA’s Invasive Species Hotline at (800) 491-1899. For more information on Asian citrus psyllid or huanglongbing, go to www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/acp.