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Asian citrus pest in trees prompts warning

October 22, 2011 |  3:21 pm

Asian Citrus Psyllid.

An aphid-like citrus pest with a history in Glendale prompted another warning issued this week calling on residents to report infestations to state agricultural officials.

The Asian citrus psyllid is not harmful to humans, but can be devastating to citrus trees if it is carrying a fruit-destroying disease that has no cure.

The so-called greening disease, which so far has been kept from spreading north of the Mexico border, destroys the taste of fruit and kills the tree within five years, said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Riverside research entomologist based at a facility in the Central Valley.

The citrus psyllid, which can be difficult to spot, acts as a carrier for the disease, and if the pest hitches a ride north on produce transports into California, the impact would be “pretty devastating,” she added.

It was first discovered in Glendale and other L.A. County cities two years ago, and officials this week said they were ramping up education efforts in affected areas as a coalition of agri-business groups and governments agencies re-energize eradication programs, according to the Glendale News-Press.


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Asian Citrus Psyllid. (Photo courtesy of USDA.gov via Flickr)