Asian Citrus Psyllid Pest Found in Monterey County

DanCitrus, Industry News Release

Additional Traps Being Set

Map_of_California_highlighting_Monterey_CountyMonterey County has had its first detection of the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) in a residential neighborhood of Northeast Salinas. The ACP was positively identified on June 7th from a trap placed near Boronda Road and Constitution Blvd.  In response to the find, additional traps will be deployed in the surrounding area to determine if there is an infestation.  In addition, there will be voluntary treatment program and a quarantine area will be established around the City of Salinas.

All residents in and around the one quarter-mile treatment area will be notified before any treatments begin.  The California Department of Agriculture is holding a  open house meeting on June 22nd at 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 1071 Pajaro Street in Salinas to provide information about the voluntary treatment program and to answer any questions.

Trap in citrus tree for ACPMonterey County has been encouraging homeowners to monitor their trees on a regular basis.  Assistant Agricultural Commissioner Bob Roach says, “This pest and disease complex is a major threat to backyard citrus trees and to the 1,300 acres of commercial lemons grown in the county.  It’s extremely important to do everything we can to slow or stop the spread of both the vector and the disease.  The ACP is a small insect about the size of an aphid.  It feeds on citrus stems and leaves, especially tender new growth.  HLB causes asymmetrical yellowing and splotching of leaves.  Inspect your citrus often and report any suspicious insects or symptoms to the Agricultural Commissioner’s office.”

The ACP is an invasive species of great concern because it can transmit the Huanglongbing disease (HLB).  HLB is a bacterial disease harmless to humans or animals, but fatal to citrus trees. ACP has become established in California from the Yuma area to Santa Barbara, up the central Valley from Bakersfield to Fresno, and there are spot infestations in many counties surrounding Monterey.  All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease.  There is no cure once a tree becomes infected.  The diseased tree will decline in health and produce bitter, misshapen fruit until it eventually dies.  To date, HLB has been detected only in certain residential areas of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

HLB disease can also be spread through the movement of citrus trees, fruit or infected budwood.  Homeowners should plant only certified disease-free citrus from a reputable nursery and not move citrus fruit or plant material around.