(June 27, 3:38 p.m., PACKER WEB EXCLUSIVE) The California citrus industry has confirmed three Asian psyllids, pests that can transmit the citrus greening virus, have been found in Tijuana, Baja California.

The psyllids were trapped in three separate backyards, said Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual, Exeter, Calif. The discoveries launched immediate action by the domestic industry and state and federal officials.

A joint team of U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture researchers and scientists has initiated a three-mile wide, high-density trapping program from the border into San Diego County, said Steve Lyle, director of public affairs for the state agency. The psyllids found in Tijuana were about two miles from the U.S. border, he said.

“We hope we can determine the scope of the problem, or non-problem, in San Diego County as early as next week,” Lyle said.

The psyllids were identified by the international service division of the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Nelsen said.

“The citrus industry commends those international service people for doing their jobs so well,” Nelsen said. “There’s the assumption they found the pest very early.”

The international service staff has placed additional traps in a five-mile radius of each of the Baja California finds, Nelsen said.

“So far, they have not found any significant population of psyllids,” he said.

The nation’s citrus industry and state and federal officials have begun mapping an overall action plan.

“It will include specific action steps and the formation of a research team and a resource management team,” Nelsen said. “They will identify what programs need to be implemented in various states for early detection and prevention.”

For their part, Nelsen said California and Texas are ahead of the game. Both states formed citrus greening task forces more than a year ago, he said. It is hoped the overall action plan will be in place and coordinated efforts will be under way by the end of July, Nelsen said.

Citrus greening was recently confirmed in one Louisiana grove. The region, just north of New Orleans, contains about 500 acres of citrus trees, Nelsen said. Louisiana state and federal officials have inspected two of the area’s 26 other groves, about 100 residential properties and six nurseries, he said, and have found psyllids at several sites.

A federal quarantine notice has been issued. It prevents the movement of potential host material, Nelsen said. Federal officials suspect the virus-carrying psyllid may have entered Louisiana on nursery stock from Florida, he said.