County and state officials have been actively responding to various Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) discoveries in the Central Valley in recent weeks. Kern, Tulare, and Fresno counties have all reported an ACP detection over the last month. The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) has been implementing delimitation protocols and necessary treatment programs. CPDPD Director Victoria Hornbaker told AgNet West that while the recent detections are a bit jarring, there are some positive takeaways.
“The important thing from my perspective is it shows us that the system is working,” Hornbaker noted. “If we didn’t have growers and nurserymen and packers who are so diligent, we wouldn’t be seeing the successes that we’re seeing to date.”
Three ACP detections were identified in Kern County in residential areas of Southwest Bakersfield back in May. Multiple ACP were detected in the Woodlake/Lemon Cove area of Tulare County and most recently two ACP were found in the Orange Cove area of Fresno County. Hornbaker explained that response activities have been completed for the Tulare incident and delimitation trapping will remain ongoing. “One important thing to note, for the Tulare find, all of the psyllids that were collected were tested to see if they were carrying the bacteria that causes HLB, and those all came up negative,” said Hornbaker. Officials are still conducting testing on the ACP detection in Fresno County.
Grower liaisons are working with industry members in the areas of the most recent discoveries, reminding growers, packers, and haulers to be vigilant in their ACP suppression approaches. While ACP detection has seen a recent uptick, Hornbaker noted that it highlights the effectiveness of best practices and regulatory requirements for keeping Huanglongbing (HLB) from taking hold in California. HLB can become widespread within a period of five years if not actively mitigated and suppressed.
“We’re 10 years into this and we’re still doing a pretty decent job of keeping HLB out of commercial citrus, and keeping it down in southern California and limiting it to the residential areas and doing everything we can to protect the citrus growing regions of California,” said Hornbaker.