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University of California
Capitol Corridor

UC academics raise Asian citrus psyllid awareness

Be prepared with a plan, warns UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Craig Kallsen, for the very real possibility of an Asian Citrus Psyllid quarantine area in Kern County, according to an article he authored that was published in Western Farm Press yesterday.

If the pest appears in the San Joaquin Valley's southernmost county, farmers will face a distinct challenge. Most of the citrus fruit harvested in Kern County is shipped to other counties for packing. If the county were to be quarantined, farmers would have to make sure the fruit has been processed and cleaned well enough to eliminate all plant parts - including leaves, stems and debris - and all life stages of the Asian citrus psyllid before shipping to packing houses.

"(The fact) that much of Kern County’s fruit is packed outside the county may make compliance with quarantine regulations potentially more difficult for many growers and packers that produce fruit in Kern County," Kallsen wrote.

Meanwhile, an article by freelance writer Dan Bryant, published earlier this week in Western Farm Press, outlined how the citrus industry is gearing up for Huanglongbing, the devastating citrus disease that can be spread by Asian citrus psyllid (to date, the disease has not appeared in California.)

The story included advice from UC Riverside citrus entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell. She told the reporter the telltale, early signs of Huanglongbing are yellowing of newly-flushed citrus foliage.

If Huanglongbing arrives in California, it could be distributed rapidly by the Asian citrus psyllid through backyard plants before moving on to commercial citrus. In that case, nurseries will have to place nursery stock in screen houses to keep it from the Asian citrus psyllid. Some, she said, have already prepared structures.

Immature Asian citrus psyllids.
Immature Asian citrus psyllids.

Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 8:10 AM

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