What is in this article?:
- A 178-square-mile quarantine zone created in Tulare County
- Quarantine will affect nearly a dozen packing sheds
- Nine Asian citrus psyllids found to date in Tulare County
Concerned growers and other citrus industry representatives pack a meeting room at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif., July 30 to hear about quarantine restrictions related more local Asian citrus psyllid finds.
The quarantine also will include urban spraying operations by the State of California in and around the City of Porterville, which is the nearest urban center to the recent ACP finds.
State officials appear pleased that citizens living in and around the affected area are receptive to state spraying operations.
“Residents support this program,” said John Hooper, CDFA environmental program manager with the pest detection emergency program. “They want this pest eradicated.”
Urban spraying will begin immediately and will include a dual insecticide approach, Hooper says.
Growers will pay for sprays in commercial citrus.
A website for growers and homeowners on ACP is located at http://ucanr.edu/sites/ACP/. It includes guidelines and steps to help growers control the ACP insect.
Providing a Florida perspective on the ACP was Ken Keck, a third-generation Florida citrus grower and the new president of the California Citrus Research Board. Keck previously served as the general counsel and executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus from 2006-2012.
Given Florida’s early lackluster efforts to address the ACP, Florida’s citrus industry has been decimated by Huanglongbing (HLB). HLB is caused by a bacteria vectored by the ACP. There is no known cure for HLB. The disease makes fruit unmarketable. Every infected tree eventually dies.
“In Florida, we had the psyllid and thought of it just as another pest that was around in the new flush,” Keck said. “It will be a crime if you don’t take this seriously.”
Keck advised growers to set aside the natural inclination of independence for a more coordinated and area-wide effort to aggressively address the issue.
Keck urged growers and citrus representatives to take an aggressive approach to address ACP and HLB.
“If institutions don’t respond appropriately, write emails and make the phone calls,” he said.