Between January and May, psyllids were found in Irvine, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Williams Canyon, Ladera Ranch, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest, said Steve Lyle, director of public affairs at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Orange County has been under quarantine for the psyllid — which can spread huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease — since 2009.
The first finding of a diseased tree was in March in a Hacienda Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles County. The pest has been found in several counties.
“This year has brought us a bunch of new detections,” Lyle said. “We’re methodically going through and getting to each area as we can. Orange County is mostly a residential and urban community. There’s not a lot of agricultural production.”
Pest eradication efforts began in San Juan Capistrano a week after the department had a public meeting there. The next meeting was set for June 6 in Mission Viejo, with spraying soon to follow.
“We’re putting together sequences of public meetings and treatment programs for each community,” Lyle said.
Citrus greening has not appeared in California production groves. In Florida, the University of Florida estimates that the disease cost about $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity since 2005.