Quarantine in Merced County after the discovery of the Asian Citrus Psyllid

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Hundreds of miles in Merced County are under quarantine after agriculture commissioners said an Asian Citrus Psyllid was found just outside city limits. (KFSN)

Hundreds of miles in Merced County are under quarantine after agriculture commissioners said an Asian Citrus Psyllid was found just outside city limits.

John Henry Esaw said maintaining his garden started off as a hobby.

"I found myself with so much food, I didn't want it to go to waste."

And later, decided to use it for good.

"We took some of it to the food bank in Merced, and we also take quite a bit to the mission."

Esaw regularly donates his food to local organizations in Merced. Now, those trees are threatened with the discovery on an Asian Citrus Psyllid pest in Merced County.

"There's approximately 30 residents adjacent to where it was found. It's very close to the city limits of Merced," said Sean Runyon, Merced Assistant Agriculture Commissioner.

Runyon said these quarantines across the state of California are becoming more common, and these pests can be a huge threat to the citrus industry.

"The ACP spreads a disease know as citrus greening. Once the plant gets this disease, it's incurable"

Concerning residents like Esaw.

"It's serious-- it's a matter of time we're going to have it and it looks like we're starting to get it"

The quarantined zone measures 123 square miles, and includes the city of Merced and parts of Atwater.

Commissioners said the quarantined area is being closely surveyed and they ask residents to not move any citrus or curry plant materials from their homes.

"We're trying to slow the pest down," said Runyon.

Meanwhile, Esaw is keeping a sharp eye on his trees.

"Watch it real close, and certainly wont let trees in unless we know what they are. We wont plant no citrus unless we're sure there's nothing on them."
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