State conducting survey for citrus tree pests

SOLEDAD — California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is currently conducting a survey in areas where they have found the Asian citrus psyllid in Soledad.

The department is planning to set traps in the area to determine the size of the infestation.

“They have to go house to house to see if they can put traps there,” said Henry Gonzalez, agricultural commissioner. “The residents have to have a host tree, and if they do, the department asks if they can put traps there.”

If a psyllid is found or suspected, the specimen will be sent up to a lab and the CDFA will ask the Soledad resident if they can treat the area where the psyllid is found.

“We’ve had the Asian psyllid here, there was some finds in and around Salinas the last couple of years and we’ve been under quarantine for that,” Gonzalez said.

“These are just additional finds of the psyllid,” Gonzalez added.

The Asian citrus psyllid is not dangerous to humans. It can carry the Huanglongbing bacterium that the CDFA says is not present in the Salinas Valley as far as it knows. If the psyllid did have the bacterium, it could be passed on to the tree, likely killing it. The fruit on the citrus tree would also develop in a deformed manner. If present in oranges, they would be bitter.

“If residents are asked, we just request that they allow the treatments to occur,” Gonzalez said. “It’s going to be an insecticide and will kill the psyllid and probably any other small tiny insects that are there. It’s really necessary in order to prevent the Huanglongbing bacterium from being transmitted.”


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