As the threat of Huanglongbing (HLB) continues, industry members know that the best way to prevent HLB from infecting our groves is to limit populations of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), which spread the deadly disease. This winter, it’s critically important for California’s citrus growing operations to actively participate in local, area-wide or coordinated treatments to further boost our industry’s efforts in the fight against the ACP.
Over the past year, ACP detections have been spiking throughout areas of the state where it has not been declared well-established, including parts of the Central Valley and Central Coast. While treatment strategies are different in various regions of the state, participation in area wide or coordinated treatments is crucial in suppressing ACP populations. When we work together by timing treatment applications, we can leverage the strongest counter punch possible by limiting the areas where psyllids find safe harbor to avoid these treatments. In the process, we can protect not only our own groves, but those of our neighbors.
The cost to manage ACP populations is far less than what the potential costs should HLB spread into our commercial groves. One only has to turn their eyes to Florida for a crystal ball’s view into our future should we not take action. While we have successfully prevented HLB detections in California’s commercial citrus groves thus far, I encourage growers to invest in this “insurance policy” to provide the best continued protection we have against this formidable opponent.
Our industry continues to make strides in the fight against HLB and the ACP, but we’re stronger when we work as a collective. It is important to connect with your local grower liaison or pest control district, or view the treatments schedules on CitrusInsider.org for details on treatments in your area, as the preferred timing of treatments will vary per region. For more information on ACP treatments and effective materials, see the University of California’s UCIPM Pest Management Guidelines for Asian Citrus Psyllid. If you suspect ACP or HLB in your grove, please notify the California Department of Food and Agriculture Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. — By Jim Gorden, Chair, Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Committee