Now that Ventura has the pest, Gonzales said the focus should be on eradication. Not all growers are on board with that, he added. Some believe that one find does not justify the expense of additional pesticide applications, especially if the grove is not within 400 meters of a find.

“That’s wrong. If we don’t stop it now, we will be treating it all the time,” Gonzales warned. Fruit from untreated groves may not be accepted at packinghouses.

When ACP arrives in the Valley, there is a treatment strategy in place according to University of California citrus pest specialist Beth Grafton-Cardwell.

The goal is to buy time, slow the spread of the pest until researchers can develop solutions to the disease.

No one treatment works perfectly, Grafton-Cardwell said. The basic strategy is to use two insecticide groups — foliar and systemic, to ensure all life stages are targeted. The recommended one-two punch is a pyrethroid and a neonicotinoid.

When only a few ACP are trapped, those two products will suppress for a long period. With multiple ACP sites the same strategy is recommended along with monitoring. If ACP is found in less than nine months after treatment, Grafton-Cardwell said that continuous treatment is warranted.

“Be aggressive up front or you will see them pop up again and again,” she warned.

Growers should also rotate products to stress the pest in different ways. Applications are more effective in late fall and early spring.  The web site that lists the recommended sprays is at http://ucanr.org/sites/KACCCitrusEntomology.

Products that comply with organic standards are not effective and organic growers need to find solutions, Grafton-Cardwell added.

Biological solutions — the parasitic wasps that are currently being evaluated — are not going to be a panacea, but they will be a component in control.

Pesticide applications in citrus can be tricky at certain times of the year. There are restrictions during bloom to protect bees. Some products are approved for use in the presence of bees, Grafton-Cardwell said, and growers will have to be creative to find solutions.

Ted Batkin, one of the leads in the state’s fight to control ACP, stressed that all citrus growers have a plan in place prior to an ACP find. It is likely that the first Valley find will trigger a valley-wide rather than county-by-county quarantine, he said. Batkin, who started the ACP-HLB Task Force in 2005, said growers should understand what an ACP infestation means for them and know the state regulations for suppression. Plans should also be in place for cleaning fruit prior to moving front groves.

“Don’t wait until it happens, know where machinery is located, know who to call and specify who is going to take the lead,” Batkin advised.

Batkin, who leads the Visalia-based Citrus Research Board, said the grower-funded program is planning a citrus conference in October, which will focus on ACP controls including spray demonstrations and integrated pest control programs.