Dog detects more Asian citrus psyllids in California

08/31/2009 09:09:22 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

California agriculture inspectors have found more Asian citrus psyllids in another FedEx package.

According to an Aug. 28 article in the Los Angeles Times, a detection dog working for California Department of Food and Agriculture inspectors discovered 100 live Asian citrus psyllids in a package at a Sacramento, Calif., FedEx depot on Aug. 26.

The package, which contained curry leaves and guava, included juvenile and adult psyllids, according to inspectors.

After trapping the psyllids, inspectors sent them to a laboratory which determined the bugs were not carriers of huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening disease.

On July 10, a handler-dog team from the Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner's office found psyllids at a Fresno FedEx depot that tested positive for HLB. The disease, rampant in Florida, kills citrus trees.

According to the report, in the latest find, the dog found plant material in a parcel shipped from Houston to Sacramento.

Beth Grafton-Cardwell, a UC-Riverside entomologist, said in the Times article that scientists know psyllids have been entering the state, but thanks to federally funded dog teams, authorities are just starting to understand how severe the situation remains.

Grafton-Cardwell said the latest find shows how the disease can enter the state.

For more information on citrus greening, visit The Packer’s sister publication The Grower,  which has an online citrus greening resource center.



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