(UPDATED COVERAGE, July 16) Although only six pests have been found along the corridor east of Highway 65 in Tulare County, California officials are using the word “infestation” to describe the Asian citrus psyllid situation in the region.
Steve Lyle, public information officer for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, said July 16 that no additional bugs have been trapped since the county’s agricultural commissioner anounced July 12 that six were found in detection traps in three different locations.
“We consider this an infestation. They were in detection traps in commercial citrus groves,” Lyle said of the pests that carry citrus greening disease. “This is further north than they have be found previously.”
The good news as of July 16 was that dozens of new detection traps remain empty, Lyle said. He said state and county officials are working together to determine whether a new quarrantine needs to be imposed.
The discovery of the six psyllids came less than a month after the state lifted restrictions on Tulare County on June 17.
Those restrictions were imposed when Asian citrus psyllids were found in the Lindsay, Strathmore and Terra Bella areas in October and November of 2012. The restrictions covered two zones and totaled 163 square miles.
Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said in a July 12 news release that the CDFA and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service are collaborating on what the next steps should be.
Citrus greening disease has only been detected in one residential property in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the release said.
When the state lifted the restrictions in June, CDFA secretary Karen Ross said the pests and the disease they carry is the biggest threat to California’s citrus trees.
“Thanks to the responsiveness and cooperation of our farmers and their neighbors, we have determined that the limited population of psyllids detected in the area last year has not developed into a sustained infestation,” said Ross in the release announcing the restrictions were lifted. “As with so many invasive pests, when we can detect infestations early and respond swiftly, we stand the best chance of protecting our farms and gardens.”