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Asian citrus psyllid found in Arizona

The feared Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is now in Arizona.

The first detection was in a neighborhood in San Luis located just one-half mile north of the Mexican border in Yuma County.

Plant inspectors with the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s (ADA) Plant Services Division found the insect in a sticky trap. The insect was sent to a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service laboratory in Beltsville, Md. for confirmation. Testing will also determine whether the insect carried Huanglongbing disease (HLB).

HLB is a major threat to the U.S. citrus industry. The psyllid is the primary HLB vector.

An ACP was found 1.5 miles south of the Arizona-Mexico border in San Luis, Sonora, Mexico in September.

ADA has increased trap checks and visual inspections in the San Luis area. ADA will implement procedures from an action plan developed by a California-Arizona HLB task force.

ACP was found in California’s San Diego and Imperial counties in fall 2008. The pest has been intercepted by sniff dogs in several packages in Fresno and Sacramento. HLB has not been confirmed in California or Arizona.

HLB attacks citrus trees causing death in several years. Citrus from infected trees is misshaped, sour tasting, and unmarketable.

Florida first detected the pest in 1998 and the disease in 2005, and the two have now been detected in all 30 citrus-producing counties.

The pest and the disease are present in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina. Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama have the pest but not the disease.

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