FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - A tiny pest capable of carrying a disease that can kill citrus trees has turned up in the heart of California's citrus belt.
Tulare County officials say an Asian citrus psyllid was found in a trap pulled from a tree near Strathmore, southeast of Visalia, on Friday.
It's only the second psyllid found in the San Joaquin Valley. The psyllids have turned up in greater numbers in Southern California.
It's not known yet whether the Tulare County psyllid carries the deadly bacteria called "citrus greening."
The disease has decimated the citrus industry in Florida and other parts of the world.
The Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program offers the following tips for homeowners:
-- Do not bring any plant material into the valley from other states or countries, or from Southern California or the Central Coast because it might be carrying psyllids or be infected with HLB.
-- Inspect your citrus trees for signs of the pest and disease each month or whenever watering, spraying, pruning or tending trees.
-- Only buy citrus trees from reputable, licensed California nurseries.
-- Use only registered budwood with source documentation.
-- Dry or double bag plant clippings prior to disposal to avoid moving psyllids and HLB-infected plant materials.
-- Cooperate with agriculture officials on detection and suppression efforts of the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB.
For more information and to find out what to look for, visit www.CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org. If you think you have found a psyllid or if your tree has symptoms of HLB, act fast. Call the California Department of Food and Agriculture hotline at (800) 491-1899.
(Photos provided by the Citrus Pest & Disease Prevention Program).
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