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State To Monitor Deadly Citrus Pest

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has announced they will assume the task of monitoring 8,355 traps that are set up in California’s commercial citrus orchards. These traps are designed to catch the Asian citrus psyllid which is the disease-carrying insect that destroyed Florida’s citrus industry.

Until recently, the traps were monitored by technicians under contract by the Citrus Research Board, a grower-funded organization.

By transferring the task to the state, officials believe they will be able to respond more quickly and efficiently when these pests are discovered. This move will also allow growers to ship their produce to Australia. Currently, Australia will not accept imports from Asian citrus psyllid infected areas unless they are monitored by an official regulatory agency.

Asian citrus psyllids were first discovered in San Diego County in 2008. The insect has spread to Los Angeles and Riverside counties during the past 1½ years.

The citrus industry in Florida has lost $3.6 billion in revenues and 6,600 jobs over the last few years because of these pests.