Dangerous citrus pest nears CALIFORNIA growing center
Posted: October 31st, 2009 - 10:41am
Source: Los Angeles Times
A tiny insect that threatens California's $1.6-billion citrus industry has been found near one of the state's commercial citrus growing regions.
The Asian citrus psyllid, which has ravaged orchards in Florida as well as overseas, was found in Valley Center in rural San Diego County, the closest the bug has come to a major concentration of citrus groves.
Northern San Diego County has about 2,500 acres of commercial citrus orchards and is home to the largest concentration of organic citrus farmers in the nation, which will complicate efforts to control the insect, said Ted Batkin, president of the Citrus Research Board.
"The Valley Center trapping is not a surprise, but it is a real concern. This is very close to several thousand acres of citrus groves," Batkin said.
The insect, which often carries a disease that kills citrus trees, was trapped Monday in a small "ranchette" that has about 40 citrus trees, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said today. State officials are awaiting lab results on whether it is infected.
"This is a detection of very high concern," said Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the state agency.