Invasive Citrus Psyllid Insect Threatens California's Organic Citrus Farms

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30 (UPI) — California agriculture officials say they have trapped a potentially devastating insect in an area known for its organic citrus farms.

Efforts to control the citrus psyllid — an insect that threatens the state’s citrus crops with the Huanglongbing disease it can carry — could be complicated, given the insect’s appearance in San Diego County where there is a concentration of organic orchards, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The insect has been found in several other southern California counties and in Arizona. It has wrecked havoc in citrus areas of Florida and Europe.

The latest find in California is the closest it has come to a major citrus belt in the state.

Officials and farmers in the state are awaiting laboratory results to determine if the specimen found is infected with the disease.

“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,” said Ted Batkin, president of the Citrus Research Board.

Should the disease be discovered, the state would spray aggressively to control the insect, a strategy that threatens some of the growers’ status as organic farmers, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Other
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