SACRAMENTO, June 17, 2013 – Restrictions have been lifted on the movement of citrus fruit and citrus plants in Tulare County following the completion of agricultural officials’ activities in response to detections of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in the Lindsay/Strathmore and Terra Bella areas in October and November 2012. The restrictions were enforced in two zones totaling 163 square miles, each area with a five-mile radius surrounding the sites where the insects were found.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS), the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner worked collaboratively to conduct extensive trapping and visual surveys in the restricted areas. Neither the visual surveys nor the trapping yielded additional ACP detections.
“Thanks to the responsiveness and cooperation of our farmers and their neighbors, we have determined that the limited population of psyllids detected in the area last year has not developed into a sustained infestation,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “As with so many invasive pests, when we can detect infestations early and respond swiftly, we stand the best chance of protecting our farms and gardens. The disease that the ACP can spread remains the single biggest threat to California’s citrus trees, both in our backyards and in our farmers’ groves, so we will remain vigilant and respond to any future detections as quickly as possible.”
The restrictions prohibited the movement of nursery stock out of the zones unless it had been grown in approved pest-resistant structures. While the restrictions were in effect, citrus fruit was allowed to move outside the zones only if it had been treated according to requirements then commercially cleaned and packed. Any other fruit, including residential citrus, was not permitted to be removed from the property on which it was grown, although it was allowed to be processed and/or consumed on the premises. All of these restrictions are now lifted.
The fatal disease huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, carried by ACP, has not been detected in Tulare County. To date, HLB has been found at just one California property in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County. HLB is known to be present in Mexico and in parts of the southern United States. Florida first detected the pest in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have now been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties in that state. The University of Florida estimates the disease has tallied more than 6,600 lost jobs, $1.3 billion in lost revenue to growers and $3.6 billion in lost economic activity. The disease is also present in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina. The states of Hawaii, Arizona, Mississippi and Alabama have detected the pest but not the disease.
The ACP was first detected in California in 2008 and is known to exist in Ventura, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. If Californians believe they have seen evidence of HLB in local citrus trees, they are asked to please call CDFA’s toll-free pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing, please visit: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814