Asian citrus psyllid found again near Fresno County

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Citrus growers are on alert after an insect that can destroy their plants was found again near Fresno County. Surrounding areas are being treated to stop the insect.

Fresno County isn't under a quarantine yet, but there are growers and nurseries near the Tulare County border that have specific steps they have to take. Officials want to prevent the insects from spreading disease to the trees.

Friday was a busy day for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. They were inspecting near Orange Cove, looking for Asian citrus psyllids. This week, there were three found in this area. The tiny insects carry a disease deadly for citrus plants.

"The more ACP we have, the better chance we have of getting huanglongbing," Fresno County Ag Commissioner Les Wright said.

Wright explains huanglongbing, or HLB, has destroyed citrus in Florida and Texas. California is hoping to learn from those problems and prevent them here.

"I think what happened in Florida is it got away from them before they realized they had it," said Loren Booth with Booth Ranches.

Booth says one of the insects was found near some of her trees at Booth Ranches. She has more than 8,300 acres in the San Joaquin Valley.

"It's disappointing to see it continue to spread but hopefully we can contain it," said Booth.

Regulations state that all trees within 800 meters of an ACP find will be treated. And citrus being sent from the area will have to cleaned of all foliage and wiped off. Booth says she has several pest control advisors that also work to stay ahead of the insects.

"I have a lot of confidence in what we're doing," said Booth.

The state is also setting out more traps, hoping to catch the bugs before they spread. One of the biggest areas the Ag commissioner is concerned about is citrus trees in residents' yards. If you're willing to allow a trap on your own citrus tree, contact the Ag commissioner's office.

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