Close to 500 Asian Citrus Psyllids traps set around Dinuba

September 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The future of the Valley's citrus industry is being threatened by a tiny bug that can wipeout entire citrus groves. Last week, two Asian Citrus Psyllids were found in traps placed in a Dinuba neighborhood. Now, massive efforts are underway to keep the psyllid population from spreading.

State and local agriculture inspectors have been combing through citrus grows near Dinuba ever since two psyllids were discovered in traps.

The small bugs can be hard to detect but the threat they pose to the citrus industry can be devastating. "We're here today because of what literally could be a death sentence to our citrus industry," said State Sen. Andy Vidak, (R) Hanford.

On Tuesday morning, Vidak joined Valley citrus growers calling for immediate action to control the bug before it spreads. "I'm urging Gov. Brown to sign AB 571 to help the Valley fight this threat to our citrus industry, our jobs, our economy," said Vidak.

The psyllid is a carrier of Huanglongbing -- a disease that can wipeout entire citrus grows. While the psyllids that have been trapped have not tested positive for the disease, growers aren't waiting around to see that happen. "I'm a grower, that's all I do. And I cannot pick up my trees and move them someplace else. So I have to stay here and fight for our industry," said grower Nick Hill.

Close to 500 traps are being placed 800 meters around the Dinuba find as part of the industry's eradication efforts. "We're here to protect a $2 billion industry. In Fresno County specifically, somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million industry exists," said Joel Nelsen, president of the California Citrus Mutual.

A multi-million dollar investment growers say they need to protect before it's too late.

In a matter of days, a five-mile quarantine will be issued around the Dinuba find. Both commercial growers and homeowners with citrus trees in their backyard are encouraged to look for the psyllid and call their Ag commissioner if they detect it.


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