Rachael Myrow here, host of the California Report, with an AM post from somewhere else in California. We’re in this Golden State together. Right?

It happened in Hacienda Heights, a suburban bedroom community on the east side of LA County. State ag inspectors peered closely at a sickly citrus tree. Could it be?

Yup.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture sent the tree to labs in Riverside and Washington, D.C. The results are buzzing around the Citrus Research Board office in Visalia, the Visalia Times Delta reports.

The Asian citrus psyllid, having established itself in our yards, is indeed carrying the bacterial infection we’ve known it’s capable of carrying: huanglongbing, or HLB, or “citrus greening,” or a major problem for one of California’s major crops.

HLB attacks the vascular systems of citrus trees, causing them to produce bitter, yucky looking fruit before they die.

In January, the California Report talked to Mark Hoddle, UC Riverside entomologist and researcher, about his efforts to fight the psyllid by releasing Punjabi wasps whose larvae eat the psyllids. You can see a picture here.

There is no known cure for HLB, and so the spread of the disease has killed or prompted the destruction of millions of acres of trees from China to Brazil to Florida.

More recently, crews are spraying trees at homes within about 400 meters of tree zero, hoping that does the trick.

There is a statewide quarantine barring movement of non-certified citrus trees out of Southern California, but home gardeners may not be aware of the regulations – or the threat to commercial growers nearby.

Look outside. If the leaves on your citrus trees are turning yellow while the veins turn dark green, it’s time to call the CDFA at 800-491-1899.

  • Mark Brady

    Regarding HLB in Citrus;
    Is this a disease to be take seriously – yes.
    Is the sky falling – no.
    If there is no cure and Florida has been so severly devastated, then why is Tropicana running a national ad campaign to build long term brand value for juice that only comes from Florida.
    Perhaps California researchers are not sharing the complete story.

    For the real story feel free to contact:

    Mark Brady
    Western Marketing Manager
    Plant Food Systems, Inc
    Zellwood, FL
    mbrady@plantfoodsystems.com 
    559 731-1267

    • Eatadick

      Are you retarded?

Author

Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is KQED's South Bay arts reporter, covering arts and culture in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. She also guest hosts for  The California Report and Forum, files stories for NPR and hosts a podcast called Love in the Digital Age.

Her passion for public radio was born as an undergrad at the University of California at Berkeley, writing movie reviews for KALX-FM. After finishing one degree in English, she got another in journalism, landed a job at Marketplace in Los Angeles, and another at KPCC, before returning to the Bay Area to work at KQED.

She spent more than seven years hosting The California Report, and over the past 20 years has won a Peabody and three Edward R. Murrow Awards (one for covering the MTA Strike, her first assignment as a full-time reporter in 2000 as well as numerous other honors including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association and the LA Press Club.
Follow @rachaelmyrow

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