( Courtesy Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program )

An adult Asian citrus psyllid found in a commercial grove in Riverside County has tested positive for  Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas), the bacteria that causes Huanglongbing.

The single adult psyllid is the first one found in a commercial citrus grove in California with the bacteria, according to the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program, which is a grower-funded initiative administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

“While a positive (Asian citrus psyllid) detection in a commercial grove is cause for serious concern, as of today, HLB has not been detected in any California commercial groves,” according to the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program’s Citrus Insider, which reported the positive finding on Aug. 7. “That said, it is more crucial than ever that we stop the disease from spreading by eradicating the Asian citrus psyllid in commercial groves. The cost to manage the Asian citrus psyllid is far less than any potential costs or loss to the industry should HLB take hold throughout our state.”

The CDFA is conducting surveys and collecting samples as directed in an ACP/HLB Action Plan, focusing on the perimeters of all commercial groves and all residential host plants within 250 meters of where the pest was found, according to Citrus Insider.

At this point, the best way to stop HLB is to stop Asian citrus psyllids, according to Citrus Insider, and the pest’s movements must be restricted and populations suppressed, according to the release.

“It is critical to follow best practices and review recommendations from the (University of California) on how to protect commercial citrus groves from HLB,” according to Citrus Insider. “Regulations are in place to help prevent the spread of the pest and disease. All growers, packers and haulers must comply with all California Department of Food and Agriculture, county and federal regulations, including quarantines.”

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