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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 3:34 pm | Fair 55º


Invasive Asian Citrus Psyllid Spotted Again in Goleta

Santa Barbara County produced almost $13 million in lemons alone last year, and county and state agriculture officials are taking no chances at ruining this year’s crop after an insect was discovered that can have devastating impacts on citrus trees.

On. Aug. 19, a single Asian citrus psyllid was found in the city of Goleta, which officials said indicates the insect is breeding in the area, according to a statement from the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner.

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.

To learn more about how to detect the disease on your own fruit trees, click here.

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

The statement said that the infestation was isolated enough be targeted with insecticides on the trees in that localized area by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA.

Adult, larval and egg forms of the Asian citrus psyllid, one of which was found recently in Goleta.

In 2013, Santa Barbara County was placed under quarantine after several of the pests were discovered in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Goleta.

With this latest discovery, residents of affected properties were invited to a public meeting on Thursday, where officials from CDFA, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the county Agricultural Commissioner’s Office were on hand to answer questions.

Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Fisher said the insect is a threat to local citrus growers in the country and across the states, as well as homeowners with a beloved citrus tree in their yards.

Fisher was able to attend the meeting, held in Goleta, where local growers “had all kinds of questions” about the situation.

Another public meeting will take place on Sept. 9 for citrus growers and the public alike. It will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Goleta Public Library, 500 N. Fairview.

If people are generally interested in the issue, “I’m telling them go to the meeting,” she said.

All of the efforts to inform the public in past years have paid off, she said.

People with questions about the state’s program can contact the CDFA at 1.800.491.1899 for assistance.

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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