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Asian Citrus Psyllid Found in Valley Center

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October 30, 2009

Agricultural officials today confirmed the detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) in Valley Center.

One adult ACP was found in a trap that had been placed in a tangelo tree in northwest Valley Center.

“We will continue to work diligently with the local citrus industry and residents to minimize the impact to local and state agriculture,” said County Agriculture Commissioner Bob Atkins.

“San Diego County citrus, including fresh fruit and trees, is a $64 million industry, so this is an insect that we don’t want established here.”

ACP can damage citrus plants by feeding on leaf tissues, causing distortion and leaf curling. Psyllids leave waxy tubules and honeydew, on which sooty mold can develop, damaging the plant.

This insect is also an efficient carrier of the bacterium that causes Huanglonbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, because the fruit does not color properly. Symptoms of HLB include yellow shoots, mottling and yellowing of the leaves. Infected trees are stunted, sparsely foliated and eventually die.

The disease also causes twigs to die, leaves and fruit to drop and production of small, lopsided and hard fruit that is bitter and inedible. There is no cure for HLB and diseased trees must be removed as quickly as possible to prevent spread of the disease.

The psyllid threatens all varieties of citrus.

Originally from Asia, the pest is now found in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Puerto Rico, Guam and portions of California and South Carolina.

Residents can help by reporting suspicious insects to the CDFA PEST HOTLINE at (800) 491-1899.

For more information, visit the County Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures.