The California Department of Food and Agriculture is announcing a series of public meetings in San Diego and Imperial counties to discuss planned treatment activities for Asian citrus psyllid infestations. Residents within and near the infested portions of El Cajon, Jamul, Dulzura, Tecate, South Bay Terraces, Ocotillo, Calexico, Imperial and Seeley are encouraged to attend.

Open house meetings are scheduled for Nov. 12 in Imperial County and for Nov. 13, 17, and 20 in San Diego County. Ground treatments are scheduled to begin within days following the meetings in each area. The planned approach is to apply the insecticide Tempo to the foliage of citrus trees and the systemic treatment Merit to the soil beneath those trees. Tempo is commonly used for household control of common pests such as ants, cockroaches, and fleas. Merit is commonly used as a flea and tick treatment for dogs and cats. Both applications would be made at the same time.

Residents whose properties are scheduled for treatment will be notified at least 24 hours prior to the application. The schedule of informational open houses is as follows:

Imperial County:

Wednesday, Nov. 12 – 10:00 a.m. - Noon

Ocotillo Community Center

1161 North Imperial Highway, Ocotillo, Calif., 92259

Wednesday, Nov. 12 – 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Seeley Elementary School, Board Room

1812 West Rio Vista St., Seeley, Calif., 92273

San Diego County:

Nov.13 – 4:30 - 6:45 p.m.

Penn Athletic Area Recreation

Multi-Purpose Room

2555 Dusk Dr., San Diego, Calif., 92139

Nov. 17 – 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Valhalla High School Library

1725 Hillsdale Road, El Cajon, Calif., 92019

Nov. 20 – 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Dulzura Community Center / Salvation Army Building

1136 Community Building Road, Dulzura, Calif., 91917

The Asian citrus psyllid is of grave concern because it can carry the disease huanglongbing (HLB). All citrus and closely related species are susceptible hosts for both the insect and the disease. There is no cure once a tree becomes infected. The diseased tree will decline in health until it dies.

There is no indication that the psyllids detected in California to date carried HLB. 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.