Agriculture

Asian citrus psyllids found in Turlock

The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) is an insect about one-eighth of an inch long. The pest can spread bacteria which kill citrus trees and has decimated the citrus industry in Florida and other parts of the world.
The Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) is an insect about one-eighth of an inch long. The pest can spread bacteria which kill citrus trees and has decimated the citrus industry in Florida and other parts of the world. via Associated Press

Two Asian citrus psyllids, small insects that carry the disease huanglongbing, were caught in a trap in Turlock, the Stanislaus County agriculture department announced. The insects’ presence was confirmed Monday.

The bugs infect citrus and closely related trees. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The county will place additional traps in a 9-square-mile area around the site where the bugs were found, and trees within 400 meters will be treated.

Stanislaus County is not a major citrus producer – 526 acres producing $3.2 million worth of fruit last year – but the presence of psyllids in Turlock is another marker of the pest’s advance in the state.

Quarantines restricting the movement of citrus fruit and plants are in effect in 17 counties (including all of Tulare and portions of Fresno and Madera) where the psyllid – but not the disease – has been detected. Growers have been applying insecticides in their orchards.

The Fresno Bee contributed to this report.

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