San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos is asking his constituents to help preserve the citrus industry and protect citrus trees in their area from HLB. In an article he wrote for a community newspaper (The Press-Enterprise), Ramos pointed out that citrus is a staple crop of San Bernardino County and has a rich history that traces as far back as the 1800s.
He wrote that this citrus heritage is under serious threat by HLB. He explained that this infectious disease is carried from citrus grove to citrus grove by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Scientists suspect the psyllids arrived through the Port of Miami more than a decade ago. In 2013, ACP destroyed thousands of citrus groves in Florida, causing over $4.5 billion in citrus production losses and more than 8,000 in job losses throughout the state. Since then, ACP is speculated to have traveled through several coastal states carrying the disease and wiping out many more groves before reaching California. Last month, HLB was found in a residential grove in Orange County.
Ramos points out that, after seeing the devastation in Florida, the California growers did not waste time in brainstorming ideas to help fight this threat. They formed an ACP Task Force, comprised of industry professionals, the county’s agriculture department and local experts. This task force meets frequently to discuss how they can prevent ACP from affecting citrus groves in San Bernardino County.
Neglected/abandoned citrus groves can pose a great danger to healthy groves because they have a higher risk of attracting HLB. The department’s website now features a link were residents and growers can report neglected/abandoned groves.
Ramos wrote: “I encourage you to learn more about the ‘Save our Citrus’ campaign as well as to take the pledge to save our county’s citrus. The best way to protect citrus trees from HLB is to stop the ACP. To learn more about this citrus threat, visit www.californiacitrusthreat.com or to report abandoned/neglected trees, visit www.sbcounty.gov/awm .”
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