HLB threat: Open House for those living near Asian citrus psyllid find
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: October 24, 2012
There was an open house to offer information to those living within the half-mile perimeter of the latest find of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) last week at Glen City School.
The ACP could carry a devastating disease, prompting pesticide treatment near where the pest is found to ensure that the bug does not spread. The ACP can carry the bacteria of the fatal huanglongbing disease (HLB), also called citrus greening disease, which could decimate the state’s citrus industry.
Although the latest ACP find was in a commercial orchard west of Santa Paula in the vicinity of Todd Road, those living within 800 meters of the treatment boundary and notification area were asked to attend the October 16 informational open house to learn more about the pest and the fight against it.
Trish and Bill Greene live within the treatment boundary, which ends at Peck Road to the east. Bill Greene said they were surprised when they received the notice “out of the blue.”
Trish Greene admitted, “I almost threw it out,” as the envelope containing the notice “looked like one of those sweepstakes contests.” The couple has three citrus trees on their property, a lemon, lime and orange, which Bill Greene said he has been checking for the ACP. “I’ve been out there looking, but I haven’t seen anything,” although he said he will continue to watch for the pest.
Although they live outside the boundary of the find, Martin and Holly Hernandez also attended: “Some of the ranchers called me and wanted me to look into this,” said Martin Hernandez, chief of staff to Supervisor Kathy Long. No matter where you live or how many trees you have, Hernandez said, “Everybody has to check their citrus for these pests; they’re a terrible threat to not only the livelihood of many in the river valley, but also to the wonderful scenic orchards that surround us.”
David Neustadt of the California Department of Food and Agriculture was among officials on hand to answer questions about the ACP, the HBL and the treatment which most officials characterized as benign to all but the pest. Limited ground treatment with a formulation of a low-volume pyrethroid will be applied to the foliage of citrus trees, and an imidacloprid insecticide applied to the soil beneath the trees. Plants considered a potential insect host will also be sprayed.
In Ventura County alone citrus crops are valued at more than $202 million, which represents one third-of the nation’s citrus production. The Santa Clara River Valley is also citrus heavy, with orchards throughout the entire stretch from Ventura to the Los Angeles County line, split by Highway 126.
Ventura County was placed under quarantine for the tiny aphid-like pest effective December 30, 2010, the day after the CDFA confirmed the detection of a second psyllid in an orchard near Santa Paula. The first ACP was found a week earlier in a trap in La Conchita. The CDFA also scheduled public meetings in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, where the pest was found on residential properties.
Officials have always warned that the ACP would likely be more common - and an even greater cause for concern - on residential property, where property owners would not be prone to inspect trees or even be familiar with the threat of HLB. If you believe you may have ACP, HLB or any other pest, contact the CDFA Pest Hotline, (800) 491-1899.
For additional information about ACP and HLB visit:
www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/ or http://saveourcitrus.org.