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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, CDFA Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462, Bob Atkins, SD County Agricultural Commissioner, (916) 692-9264

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #08-062
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SACRAMENTO – Asian citrus psyllid infestations at 12 San Diego County sites are scheduled for treatment Wednesday, September 17 to prevent the spread of the pest.
At this time, there are 12 known infested properties in San Diego County – 10 in the South Bay Terrace neighborhood of San Diego—near Sweetwater Reservoir—and 2 in the community of Dulzura, 23 miles away.
The approach will be ground treatments of citrus and closely-related plants with the organic compound Pyganic—already widely used in organic citrus groves—and soil drench with Merit, an imidicloprid, a systemic product that is applied underground rather than sprayed. Imidicloprid is commonly used for flea control on pets. 
On Wednesday, all of the properties are scheduled for treatment with Pyganic and imidicloprid, with at least two more follow-up treatments with Pyganic, at seven-day intervals.
Residents of all 12 properties will be notified in advance of treatments, as will residents at adjacent properties. 
The scheduled treatments are another preventive step to protect California’s citrus producing regions from the pest. Last week, CDFA announced a quarantine in southern San Diego County to regulate the movement of host plants. 
All harvested citrus in the quarantine area must be commercially cleaned and packed before it can be moved out of the area. Nursery host plants may not be moved out of the quarantined area and the movement of cut greens, green waste and citrus fruit will be regulated and enforced by federal, state and county quarantine officials. Residents are urged to consume harvested citrus fruit at home and to refrain from transporting their citrus fruit out of the area.
The Asian citrus psyllid can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease. All citrus and closely related plant species are susceptible host plants for both the pest and the disease.
There is no cure for HLB once a citrus tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will produce inedible fruit and decline in health until it dies. There is no indication that the psyllids detected in San Diego carried HLB.
The states of Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama have all detected the Asian citrus psyllid but not the HLB disease. Florida and Louisiana have detected both the pest and the disease. Since the disease was first detected in Florida in 2005, it has spread to all 32 citrus-producing counties throughout the state. A population of the pest just south of the international border, in Tijuana, is not carrying the disease.
California’s $1.1 billion citrus industry ranks second in the U.S. after Florida. California’s total citrus production has averaged 3.2 million tons per season over the past three seasons, about 24 percent of the nation’s total. California is the nation’s main source (80 percent) of fresh-market oranges, while Florida grows oranges mainly for juice. California also supplies 87 percent of the nation’s lemons (Source: USDA Economic Research Service).

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814