Properly manage plant material. In quarantine areas, growers can choose one of two options to ensure Asian citrus psyllids are not moved on plant material. When accepting deliveries from groves implementing the field-cleaning option, check to make sure no leaves or stems have been brought to the packinghouse. Ensure that bins arriving from locations that have chosen the pre-harvest spray option leave packinghouses free of leaves and stems. Always double bag and dispose any stem and leaf material.
Educate your crew. Host or sponsor regular “tailgate trainings” to educate field labor contractors, crew bosses and harvesters on the Asian citrus psyllid and best practices. Hang informative posters and distribute fliers, paycheck inserts and other materials on the importance of not transporting plant material between work sites and how to control this threat. Take advantage of resources and materials available through the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program — visit www.citrusinsider.org for free materials.
Educate industry partners. Provide information by including pest and disease information in your company newsletter, on your website or when you meet.
Report suspected findings of the Asian citrus psyllid. Visit www.citrusinsider.org to see photos and call your local ag commissioner if you think you’ve spotted the pest.
Stay informed. The Asian citrus psyllid threat to California citrus is an ongoing issue and it is critical industry professionals stay up to date. Visit www.citrusinsider.org regularly for regional and statewide updates.
It is in everyone’s best interest to implement a proactive and vigilant approach. If we can control the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid together, we can control HLB and give California’s citrus industry a fighting chance.
Terry Orr is packinghouse manager for the Exeter-Ivanhoe Citrus Association, Exeter, Calif. Scott Carlisle is food safety coordinator for Orange Cove, Calif.-based Booth Ranches LLC.
What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.