Exotic bug found in Downey citrus trees

DOWNEY - On July 27, the city received word from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) that a citrus tree spraying project would commence in the Downey area in early August.Residents of properties scheduled for treatment will be notified in person and/or writing at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled treatment. Following the treatment, completion notices will be left that detail the precautions to take and the post-harvest intervals applicable to any citrus fruit on the property. Delimiting traps for the pests will be set in areas around each detection zone to identify any spread of the pests. Residents should not transport fruit trees out of the affected areas as they could be carrying Asian citrus psyllids, an aphid-like insect about 1/8 inches long. The Asian citrus psyllid is an exotic insect that transmits a disease known as HLB to citrus trees. Citrus trees infected with HLB will die within a year or two. Emergency action is needed to protect local citrus trees and the California citrus industry. Without action, the disease hast he potential of devastating the California citrus industry. The best treatment for the pest infestation is an application of insecticides by the CDFA to the foliage of the tree and the soil below. The CDFA reports that this direct type of spraying will take 10-15 minutes per tree. All citrus trees with in a 400-800 meter radius of a pest detection site will be treated. A map provided by the CDFA shows the majority of pest detections have been in the East Los Angeles area, however, there have been a few pests detected in the western areas of Downey. The areas scheduled to be sprayed are all Downey areas north of the 5 Freeway, and west of Lakewood Boulevard from the south city limits to the 5 Freeway. Although the CDFA has not made the spraying mandatory, residents are urged to consider the impacts of the problem if it is allowed to go unchecked. The signs of problems with Asian citrus psyllids include: •Asian citrus psyllids infesting a leaf •Asian citrus psyllid eggs tucked inside new citrus growth •Burned tips of leaves •Twisting of new leaves If any of the above signs are detected on an orange, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon or lime tree, residents are encouraged to report their findings to the CDFA at (800) 491-1899. More information on this issue is available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/acp or by calling (800) 491-1899. The CDFA is working on the problem with the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commission Office.

********** Published: August 5, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 16