Environment

More destructive citrus pests found in San Luis Obispo

An Asian citrus psyllid, an insect about one-eighth of an inch long that spreads a deadly citrus disease, has been found in San Luis Obispo County.
An Asian citrus psyllid, an insect about one-eighth of an inch long that spreads a deadly citrus disease, has been found in San Luis Obispo County. AP Photo/California Department of Food and Agriculture

More Asian citrus psyllids, an invasive farm pest, have been found in a residential neighborhood near the Veterans Memorial Building in San Luis Obispo.

Agricultural officials conducted high-density trapping and visual surveys in the neighborhood after one of the insects was recently discovered in northeast San Luis Obispo. This effort resulted in the discovery of multiple additional insects in various life stages at three additional properties located one-quarter to one-third of a mile from the original site.

The psyllid is a concern because it can spread a disease called Huanglongbing or citrus greening disease, which is fatal to all kinds of citrus trees, said Martin Settevendemie, county agricultural commissioner.

“The discovery of multiple life stages at multiple sites is of serious concern to local citrus producers, residents and regulatory officials,” he said.

Officials will continue to search for the pest by monitoring hundreds of insect traps placed in urban neighborhoods and commercial orchards throughout the county.

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