Environment

5th Asian citrus psyllid, threat to local citrus crop, found in SLO 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.
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

A fifth adult Asian citrus psyllid that can threaten the local citrus crop has been detected in San Luis Obispo County.

County agricultural officials recently trapped the invasive insect in a commercial citrus orchard near the Santa Barbara County border. This is the first time one of the insects has been found in a commercial orchard, said Martin Settevendemie, agricultural commissioner.

The other four detections dating to 2014 were found at homes. Two of the psyllids have been found in Arroyo Grande, and the other two were found in San Luis Obispo and Cayucos.

The insect is considered a serious threat because it can spread a fatal citrus disease. San Luis Obispo County’s annual citrus crop is valued at more than $17 million.

State and county agricultural officials are conducting high-density trapping in the detection area to determine if other psyllids are present. A quarantine of the orchard that will restrict the movement of nursery stock and citrus fruit in the area will also be established.

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