Asian Citrus Psyllids Detected in Kern County

Taylor HillmanGeneral

Adult Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. Photograph by Douglas L. Caldwell, University of Florida.

Adult Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri Kuwayama. Photograph by Douglas L. Caldwell, University of Florida.

The Kern County Agricultural Commissioner, in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture continues to monitor the entire Kern County area for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP).

Two years ago, our first ACP was detected near the city of Wasco. Since that time, we have had several additional finds of ACP within the city limits of Bakersfield as well as a find near the city of Arvin. Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple (10+) detections of adult ACP within or near the borders of the existing quarantine areas, both in the Bakersfield and Arvin areas. At this point, we receive additional suspect finds every few days. These finds have resulted in a gradual increase in the quarantine boundaries within Kern County, though not to a great extent. The most significant of these finds currently is the Arvin quarantine zone because it contains a large portion of commercial citrus.

Most recently, we have received tentative information that the state has discovered a possible breeding population of ACP (meaning multiple life stages) in the Quailwood area of Bakersfield. As has been the case with all previous finds, each successive find of ACP results in the state increasing the trap count, conducting visual surveys to identify hosts, and treating these host citrus with insecticides, both systemic and foliar.

As part of the public notification process for these treatments, the next public Asian citrus psyllid open house will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2015 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 905 Stine Rd., in Bakersfield.

As a reminder, ACP is of grave concern because it can carry the plant disease huanglongbing (HLB). 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 dies. To date, HLB has only been detected in one backyard tree and one psyllid in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles County.

“The Asian citrus psyllid is a dangerous pest of citrus,” said Ruben Arroyo, Kern County Agricultural Commissioner. “We’re working to determine the full extent of this incident so that we can protect our state’s vital citrus industry as well as our backyard citrus trees. We want to emphasize citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health. Working together, we will rid our state of this invasive species.”

Residents in the area who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call the Pest Hotline at 1-800-491- 1899. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease, visit: .