The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) brought huanglongbing (HLB) disease detecting dogs to California earlier this month. The collaboration was looking to see if the dogs could detect the disease before a tree develops physical symptoms.
The dogs alerted on several trees in Los Angeles, Kern and San Bernadino Counties. Researchers took samples of those trees and ran them through the standard real-time PCR test, which is currently the only USDA-approved detection method for HLB. The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program (CPDPP) announced that the analyzed samples were consistent and all of the samples were HLB negative except for one Los Angeles sample from the San Gabriel quarantine core area. View the full results.
CDFA says they will continue to look and test early detection methods for HLB. The CPDPP says at this point, the best way to prevent the spread of HLB is to participate in Asian citrus psyllid management programs which include area wide treatments.