EL CENTRO -The Imperial County Agricultural Commission has issued a local warning about the impending threat of the Asian citus psyllid. The Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is an insect vector that spreads a devastating disease of citrus trees called huanglongbing, or HLB, which is also known as citrus greening disease. The disease does not affect humans; however it kills citrus trees. ACP has been present in Imperial County since 2008, but in California HLB has only been found in Los Angeles. More information on ACP and HLB is available at the following links:
Citrus is near and dear to us in Imperial County. Culturally, people have a strong attachment to their backyard fruiting trees. They provide healthy and convenient access to fresh fruit, which can be shared with friends, family, and the community. Due to our climate and intermittently inhospitable soil, many homeowners in the Imperial Valley are limited in their ability to grow many varieties of fruit trees. Citrus has long served as a hardy and rewarding option. Our citrus industry has also been thriving for decades. With over 6,000 acres of citrus in the county, the estimated gross annual value is approximately $35,000,000.
The potential introduction of citrus greening could decimate an important industry and one of our few choices of fruiting landscape trees. With ACP populations rising in Southern California it is important that everyone do what they can to prevent the spread of HLB/citrus greening disease and control the local population of ACP.
What you can do:
- · Never bring in backyard fruit, trees, or grafts from locations that may be infected with HLB. This includes other states and countries.
- · Routinely monitor your trees for the presence of ACP/HLB and report suspects to our office or the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
- · Only purchase and plant citrus trees from licensed nurseries that have a yellow or blue “CDFA” tag on the trunk. It is best if they are purchased within the county, but if they are from an out-of-county nursery, please ask the nursery if there are any special requirements for bringing the trees into Imperial County.
- · When asked by a CDFA or county official if a trap may be placed in your trees, allow them to do so. This helps us monitor the local ACP population throughout the county.
- · If ACP is found in your neighborhood and you are asked, allow CDFA to treat your trees. This helps to control the local ACP population, which will limit the spread of HLB/citrus greening disease if and when it moves into our area. You will be protecting your own citrus trees, and doing your part to protect our local citrus industry.
For additional information or to report a pest you may contact:
Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner
El Centro, CA 92243
California Department of Food and Agriculture