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Threat to Central Coast citrus crops shows up in San Luis Obispo

Citrus Research Board

A threat to Central Coast citrus crops is moving its way north, deeper into San Luis Obispo County. The Department of Agriculture says an adult Asian Citrus Psyllid was detected in a trap in a residential neighborhood within the city of San Luis Obispo.

The find is prompting efforts to control the situation. A quarantine restricting the movement of citrus nursery stock and fruit will be set up by the state to prevent further spread.

A psyllid was spotted in Arroyo Grande this past March, marking the first time the pest was found within the county.

Santa Barbara County is also facing the potential for an infestation and has resulted to spraying citrus orchards to control further spread.

The psyllid itself is not a danger to the local citrus crop, but a disease it carries is. Huanglongbing or citrus greening disease has the potential to devastate the Central Coast's multi-million dollar citrus industry. 

A single citrus tree infected with Huanglongbing was found in a Los Angeles County backyard in 2012. To date no additional detections of the disease in California have occurred.

Staff from the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner’s office and officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture continue to search for this pest by monitoring hundreds of insect traps placed in urban neighborhoods and commercial orchards throughout the county.