An Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) sample – confirmed positive for Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) the bacteria that causes Huanglongbing (HLB) – was collected from a commercial citrus grove in the Woodcrest area of Riverside County. Confirmed by Citrus Research Board’s Jerry Dimitman Laboratory, this single adult psyllid is the first CLas-positive ACP found in a commercial citrus grove in California.
While a positive ACP detection in a commercial grove is cause for serious concern, as of today, HLB has not been detected in any California commercial groves. That said, it is more crucial than ever that we stop the disease from spreading by eradicating the Asian citrus psyllid in commercial groves. The cost to manage the Asian citrus psyllid is far less than any potential costs or loss to the industry should HLB take hold throughout our state.
An expansion of the HLB quarantine zone will not be established as a result of the CLas-positive ACP detection and CDFA staff is swiftly conducting surveys and collecting samples per the ACP/HLB Action Plan from the perimeter of all commercial groves and all residential HLB host plants that are located within a 250-meter radius around the find.
While treatment is not mandatory as a result of the detection, all growers within 250-meters of the find site will be notified to apply insecticides to all HLB host material within the designated area with materials recommended by the University of California (UC).
Currently, the best way to stop the disease from spreading is to stop the ACP. To stop the ACP, we must restrict its movement and suppress existing psyllid populations. It is critical to follow best practices and review recommendations from the UC on how to protect commercial citrus groves from HLB. Regulations are in place to help prevent the spread of the pest and disease. All growers, packers and haulers must comply with all California Department of Food and Agriculture, county and federal regulations, including quarantines.
Growers in Riverside County may contact the County Agricultural Commissioner’s office or the CDFA Pest Hotline at 800-491-1899 for additional information. If you see or suspect ACP or HLB symptoms in your grove, please notify the CDFA hotline.