CDFA sprays residential properties for Asian Citrus Psyllid

December 7, 2012 12:52:10 AM PST
The California Department of Food and Agriculture began spraying insecticide on citrus trees in Strathmore. The homes are within a five mile radius of where a citrus-tree killing insect was found several weeks ago.

While commercial growers have yet to spray their crops, the CDFA came to town to spray all the citrus on residential properties within the affected areas. They hope the treatments protect citrus crops even if they're not going to the consumer.

Strathmore resident Gary Mickles has owned his house for 25 years. While he's had his property treated for pesky bugs in the past, he says never seen a thorough spray down like this one, by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. This is all a part of the effort to protect the area from the Asian Citrus Psyllid, a citrus tree-killing bug.

Gary Mickles said, "It's a proactive deal and it's good it's not my livelihood but it affects the livelihood of this whole area so that's what has to happen."

The CDFA will be spraying nearly 80 homes in Strathmore and Terra Bella. The properties are within a five mile radius of where Asian Citrus Psyllids were found in October and November.

Mickles added, "It sounds like insect terrorism to me yeah but it can be very damaging."

Local and state officials have decided to institute a "five-mile restricted area" instead of a quarantine around the sites where the Psyllid was found. Ag officials say spraying is crucial to getting the bug problem under control.

The crews use two different kinds of sprays. One to cover the tree in case any Psyllids are currently living on it, and the other spray waters down into the tree's roots.

Marilyn Kinoshita said, "It becomes part of the tree and you've got kind of like a defense for six months at least."

Commercial growers have yet to spray their crops. They'll know more on December 11th, when the state citrus pest and disease committee gives more specific instructions.


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