( File photo )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded quarantined areas for citrus greening in California, Texas and Louisiana after the disease was detected in plant tissue samples in multiple locations in the states.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service added these areas to quarantines:

California — Portions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties;
Texas — Kleberg, Kenedy and Webb counties; and
Louisiana — Plaquemines and Saint Bernard parishes.

Maps of the quarantine areas are on the APHIS website.

“APHIS is applying safeguarding measures on the interstate movement of regulated articles from the regulated areas in California, Texas, and Louisiana,” according to an APHIS news release. 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, Texas Department of Agriculture and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, along with citrus industries in the three states, are cooperating with APHIS on the new quarantine areas.

“This action is necessary to prevent the spread of citrus greening to non-infested areas of the United States,” according to the release.
The USDA convenes a monthly conference with industry stakeholders to discuss activities related to the disease, also known as huanglongbing or HLB. The most recent teleconference was August 13, according to California Citrus Mutual, Exeter.

The disease has yet to be found in California’s commercial groves, but the number of trees with it so far this year, 1,547 trees in residential areas, is more than double that of last year’s number at that time, according to a California Citrus Mutual news release. Those trees have been removed.

A research project using drones to detect the disease earlier will be used in Florida groves this season, and in California next year, according to the release. The project is based on a similar one using drones to detect problems in grains and hops crops.

California is also launching an early detection program with the Ventura County Farm Bureau, using handheld devices for detecting HLB, according to the release.

Related stories:

Research: early detection key to halting the spread of citrus greening

California citrus industry rolls out best practices against HLB

Texas A&M AgriLife receives $1.7 million-plus for citrus greening