State agriculture crews will conduct a survey in Fresno's River Park area for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) insect starting Tuesday, Aug. 11. The survey comes after the detection of ACP in a duffle bag shipped from India to a Fresno FedEx facility. Subsequent testing showed one of the insects tested positive for huanglongbing (HLB), a dangerous disease of citrus.
CDFA crews will deploy traps in a one-square mile area, conduct visual surveys, and use a vacuum device on host plants in the search for ACP. The survey area is close to the residence of the intended recipient of the duffle bag. HLB has killed tens of thousands of acres of citrus across Florida and Brazil and caused billions of dollars in losses to citrus trees.
In July, a sniff dog working for the Fresno County Department of Agriculture detected curry leaves in the duffle bag and an inspection revealed ACP.
"Inspection dogs are an important resource for pest detection and exclusion," said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “We must maintain our safety net to block the arrival of invasive pests that continually threaten California’s farms, forests and ecology.”
Currently, six teams (one handler and dog per team) are operating out of five counties: Contra Costa, Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Bernardino. Four additional teams will be trained in a 10 week course this fall and should be functioning in by early spring 2010. The new teams will operate out of Los Angeles County, (two teams), Santa Clara County, and San Diego County (two teams).
Total sniff dog funding for FY 2009-2010 is $1.5 million with $1 million coming from the federal farm bill and the remainder from federal appropriations.
CDFA has established quarantines for ACP in San Diego and Imperial counties after detections were made there last year. HLB has not been detected in California, other than the single find in the psyllid that was intercepted in Fresno last month.