Hunt is on for the Asian Citrus Psyllid

November 27, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
State and Tulare County officials are on the hunt for a tiny insect that's the size of a flea; yet the tiny pest has large, destructive capabilities.

Strathmore area residents will receive an official notice on Wednesday, about an "infestation" of the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Three insects have been found in Tulare County, two of them within an 800 meter radius in and around Strathmore. That half mile area will now be saturated with insecticide, in a proactive effort to combat the possibility of the "citrus greening disease."

The Asian Citrus Psyllid can carry the huanglongbing (HLB) disease which will cause a tree to decline in health and eventually die.

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita said, "It should be a concern to everybody. If we were ever to get HLB which Asian Citrus Psyilld can vector around a mile, mile and a quarter, this could affect a lot of people."

Local officials have also discussed the possibility of a quarantine. Kinoshita says it's not a decision that's easy to make. "A quarantine is established and stays in place for 2 years. That's a long time for growers to change their processing patterns when they're moving fruit."

Insecticide spraying begins on Friday and will affect between 50 and 60 residents. A similar meeting will be held for growers on Wednesday, from 9-11am and from 2-4pm at the Heritage Center across from the Tulare County Agricultural Building.


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