on March 28, 2012
Chemical treatment to kill the Asian citrus psyllid in trees on private property began Tuesday in Redlands, California Department of Food and Agriculture officials said.
At least six crews are working in Redlands and more than 30 in the Inland region as part of an effort to stop the pest, which can carry a fatal citrus disease called huanglongbing, or citrus greening, said Steve Lyle, the department’s director of public affairs.
The teams provide free treatment of citrus and other host plants on private property in areas where psyllids have been detected, Lyle said.
The department held town hall-style meetings in Redlands and Yucaipa last week after delivering more than 15,000 notices to residents of infested areas. The Yucaipa meeting drew scant attendance, but hundreds went to the one in Redlands on Wednesday evening.
“Everyone was really surprised how many people showed up,” said John Gardner, San Bernardino County agriculture commissioner.
Agriculture officials have been hanging insect traps in residential trees for months in an effort to track the psyllid’s migration into the Inland area. Last year, only a few had been found in San Bernardino County. This year, with the warm winter creating ideal conditions, the psyllid population has exploded.
Their numbers are so huge that state food and agriculture officials have given up efforts to wipe out the insect in Los Angeles and western San Bernardino County, Gardner said. Now they are hoping to hold the line in eastern the San Bernardino Valley, with the goal of preventing the pest from spreading into commercial groves in the Coachella Valley and north to the Central Valley. California’s citrus industry is valued at $1.9 billion a year.
To read the entire article, including information about treatment, visit the Press-Enterprise.