Fresno County on Alert for ACP
Assemblyman Jim Patterson hosted the Citrus Industry
Town Hall this morning at the Fresno County Farm Bureau office to discuss the
current state of the Asian Citrus Psyllid presence in California, the
quarantine situation, how Fresno County is preparing for the possible migration
of ACP into the county, and how agencies, growers, and the state and federal
governments are cooperating to control its spread in California.
|Assemblyman Jim Patterson|
Over forty people attended the meeting, including
growers, PCAs, local government and industry leaders, researchers, and media.
Fresno County is the fourth largest citrus-producing
county in California, having dropped in status due to freeze-damaged mandarin
acreage last year, according to Les Wright, Fresno County Ag Commissioner.
“ACP spread is one of the most serious problems facing
valley citrus growers especially those in the south valley,” said Wright.
To date, all contiguous counties in southern
California are under CDFA Quarantine, as well the Porterville area of Tulare
County, to prevent movement of ACP-ridden leaves and plant debris and
unsanitary ag equipment into non-infested regions of the state and to bide time
for agency mobilization and industry research to catch up. The effort also aims
to prevent ACP from finding HLB-infected trees and spreading the incurable
Though presently under quarantine, the effort in
southern California to stop the spread of ACP, it was emphasized, was NOT a
failure; rather, it bought precious time for other regions to prepare, and
while many treatments did not work, other regions are learning from their
Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC IPM Specialist and
Research Entomologist, recently studied ACP found in Texas and Florida and
reported that local agencies here are following Florida’s lead in organizing grower
groups and local neighbors to treat their trees simultaneously.
|Dr. Beth Grafton-Cardwell|
She said that researchers are looking for natural
processes, among others, to control ACP populations.
Victoria Hornbaker, CDFA, Program Coordinator, gave
the example of Dr. Mark Hoddle, Extension Specialist and Director of the Center
for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside, who is working towards the
massive release of Tamarixia
radiata wasps, a natural predator of ACP, found in Pakistan. In studies of
small releases of T.
radiata, the wasps were found outside the areas where they were released—a
good indication of their hardiness and potential effectiveness against ACP.
While there is no cure for HLB thus far, researchers
are looking at altering the ACP so it cannot pick up HLB disease, inserting a
gene so it cannot carry HLB, and creating disease-resistant plants.
Organic insecticides against ACP are short-lived, so
they must be applied more frequently than their conventional counterparts.
Thus, organic farmers must be more aggressive in their treatments.
UC Davis is studying new efficacious organic products.
If an organic farm were in an eradication zone, the
grower would be required to use conventional products, losing organic status
for one year. Without compliance, the property would be abated.
It is recommended that when a grower sprays for a
different pest, they should choose a product that also works on ACP.
Eradication and management strategies differ according
Product spraying frequency and product choice are
delicate decisions so as not to cause resistance in ACP.
Expert dog sniffers can detect the presence of ACP,
and have detected infested shipments that were subsequently destroyed.
California is vigilant at all points of entry including airports, border
traffic, and ports. Not all counties have expert canines; however, Fresno has
one such specialist. The USDA also provides dogs, one of which works in Fresno.
Take Action Now
Start sampling now.
Do not rely on (color-saturated) yellow-sticky traps
for detection. Remember that psyllids are attracted to citrus trees, which have
both color and scent.
ACP likes an orchard’s edges, so test for their
presence around a field’s perimeter, as well as down the center for good
Go to the following websites for information,
quarantine maps, crop protection cost-effectiveness:
In the event a homeowner or grower suspects ACP on
their property, take the bug, if possible, put it in alcohol, and contact the
Fresno County Farm Bureau; Sylvie Robillard, Fresno County Grower Liaison; the
CDFA Hotline, 1-800-481-1899 or your local Ag commissioner (if outside Fresno
Joel Nelson, California Citrus Mutual, President,
commented, “If it weren’t serious, it would be exciting” due to the talent of
the people involved in the fight to suppress the ACP and thereby avoid HLB
disaster in the state. With southern California producing $750,000 and the
Central Valley producing $1.5 billion in citrus, California is the largest
citrus-producing state in the country, providing 85% of the country’s fresh
Stopping the spread of ACP and eradicating
Huanglongbing (HLB) is among the top five priorities of the USDA. The federal
government has contributed $10 million to the California program toward that
A coalition of groups is conducting a public
relations campaign starting in southern California that includes distribution
of bookmarks and brochures (in several languages) that have a little magnifying
glass inside to detect ACP; enlisting legislators and box stores, among others,
to help spread information; and launching a PSA next week featuring Citrus Grower
Kevin Severns speaking about this crucial situation.There are 6 versions of the
PSA on CCM’s YouTube Channel.
Nelson emphasized that every step this coalition in
California takes is globally unprecedented. And the government is flexible and
ready to adopt new strategies; using this effort in California as a model for
other programs planned to eradicate foreign invading pests.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson concluded by acknowledging,
“Agriculture is more than a livelihood; it‘s a life.”
Labels: ACP, Asian Citrus psyllid, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, California Citrus Mutual, Citrus Industry Town Hall, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Grafton-Cardwell, HLB, Huanglongbing, Joel Nelson, Les Wright, quarantine