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Asian Citrus Psyllid Pests Spotted in Carpinteria

Several more of the exotic insects that can wreak havoc on citrus crops were found last month in Carpinteria, and state and county agriculture officials are working to contain the pest.

Two Asian citrus psyllids were identified in Carpinteria on Sept. 1 and 2, which indicates that breeding population exists in the county, according to a release from the Santa Barbara County’s Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

The insects can become lethal to citrus trees if they become infected with a bacterial disease known as huanglongbing (HLB), which can ruin the fruit and ultimately kill the tree.

There is no cure for the disease, which has wiped out scores of trees in states such as Florida as well as across California.

Last month, the county’s ag commissioner announced that a single Asian citrus psyllid had been spotted in Goleta, and that California Department of Food and Agriculture had used insecticides in that area as well.

On Friday, it was announced that the infestation in Carpinteria had been sufficiently isolated and could be treated with insecticides. Those with affected properties were contacted by CDFA personnel about treatment information.

“The most serious damage caused by Asian citrus psyllid is due to its vectoring of the deadly disease huanglongbing (HLB). HLB is considered one of the most devastating diseases of citrus in the world, because it causes citrus trees to produce inedible fruit and results in the eventual death of infected trees," Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Fisher said in the statement.

Those wanting more information about the pest can contact the CDFA toll-free at 1.800.491.1899 for assistance or click here.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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