The Asian citrus psyllids (ACP) found last week in a residential area in north Visalia, California, were a breeding population, according to Greg Douhan, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor for citrus. The ACP were found in four locations in the city, not in close proximity to any agricultural operations.
“Most of the findings found in the San Joaquin Valley have been a single nymph on a sticky trap or a single insect on one of the sticky traps,” Douhan said. “This was actually a breeding population where they found multiple generations. So that’s why it’s a little more significant than some of the other random findings.”
About 250 ACP were found on three orange trees and one lemon tree during routine monitoring. The trees were treated to eradicate the ACP population by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and Tulare County agriculture commissioner personnel.
“The (ACP) samples have all been gathered up and taken to the CDFA laboratory,” Tulare County Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Tom Tucker explained. “So far there have been no positive HLB, so that’s good. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Those trees and all of those psyllids have been treated, and we will keep an eye on them of course.” He added that his staff have now placed about 100 traps around the discovery site to determine if any more ACP are in the area.
“Those traps will be surveyed or inspected weekly for the first month and then, after that, we’ll go to a monthly basis,” explained Tucker. “The idea is to just keep tabs on it and make sure that there wasn’t an escape. And we’ll keep watching it, and after a year’s time then we’ll go back to normal and routine inspection trapping.”
Douhan explained that monitoring and prompt eradication of ACP populations is a vital effort to control HLB. “If we can keep the insect population out of the valley, then the chances of spreading the bacteria into the valley will be at a minimum. So that’s the first line of defense — just try to keep the ACP out of the valley.”
Acknowledgment: Brian German, AgNet West multimedia journalist, contributed to this article.
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