For the third time this month, agricultural officials have announced the detection of an invasive plant pest in San Luis Obispo County.
An adult Asian citrus psyllid was discovered in an insect trap in a residential neighborhood in Cayucos, prompting officials to set up a high-density trapping effort in the area to determine whether an infestation exists, according to Martin Settevendemie, county agricultural commissioner.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture is also setting up a quarantine for Cayucos restricting the movement of citrus nursery stock and citrus fruit, Settevendemie said in a news release Monday.
Since March, pest detection specialists with the county Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Food and Agriculture have trapped Asian citrus psyllids in Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo, leading to the creation of quarantine areas in a five-mile radius surrounding those detection sites.
In addition, three light brown apple moths, which damage a multitude of plant species during their caterpillar phase, were found in Arroyo Grande earlier this month.
The psyllid causes citrus greening disease – or Huanglongbing – which is fatal to all types of citrus trees. San Luis Obispo County's commercial citrus orchards are valued at more than $13 million, Settevendemie said.
In 2012, a single citrus tree with the greening disease was found in Los Angeles County. That was the only detection of the disease in the state.
The disease is not a human health threat.
To prevent the spread of the pest, Settevendemie is asking community members to avoid moving citrus plants or plant parts outside quarantine areas, and to allow county staffers to place insect traps in yards.
Call 781-5910 for information about quarantine areas.