Waxy Tubules Produced by Asian Citrus Psyllid Nymphs. (Photo Courtesy of CPDPP)

By the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program 

A dangerous pest called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is often found this time of year in Kern County, posing a serious threat to Central Valley’s commercial citrus. The pest can spread a deadly citrus tree disease called Huanglongbing (HLB), and growers in Kern County should be on high alert.  

There is no cure for HLB, and once a tree is infected, it will die. While HLB has not yet been found in Kern County, ACP populations have historically increased between August and October in previous years. Growers should remain vigilant for signs of the pest by inspecting their citrus trees regularly and following ACP treatment recommendations to prevent the devastating disease from entering Central Valley’s commercial groves, potentially ending the long tradition of citrus in this region and leaving thousands without work. 

In anticipation of the fall spike in ACP detections and following the higher-than-normal ACP detections last fall and earlier this spring, The San Joaquin Valley ACP/HLB Area-wide Task Force is recommending a coordinated treatment be applied in commercial citrus orchards east and south of Bakersfield in late summer/early fall (mid-August through mid-September) to prevent ACP populations from building on the fall foliar flush.  

Past coordinated treatments in the county have been successful in suppressing ACP populations. By participating in this late summer/early fall treatment, Kern County can greatly reduce the number of psyllids, and thus reduce the risk of HLB being transmitted to commercial citrus. 

While these actions may require additional resources, the cost to manage the ACP is far less than any potential costs or loss to the industry should HLB take hold throughout our state. To keep Kern County’s citrus flourishing for years to come, we all must work together in the fight against this pest and disease.  

If you suspect ACP in your orchard, please notify the California Department of Food and Agriculture Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For questions, contact Kern County Grower Liaison Judy Zaninovich at jsleslie@msn.com or 559-730-8691. 

For more information on the ACP, HLB and ACP treatments, visit CitrusInsider.org. Together, we can save Kern County’s citrus.  

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