Agriculture officials are trying to prevent
an insect-borne disease from wiping out citrus in western Arizona.
Adult Asian Citrus Psyllid (Photo by David Hall/USDA ARS)
The Asian Citrus Psyllid is only about as
big as the tip of a ballpoint pen, but it can do a lot of damage. It feeds off
the stems and leaves of citrus plants, and it can carry Citrus Greening
Disease. The disease makes the fruit a plant produces taste like cough syrup
and eventually kills the plant.
No cases of Greening Disease have been found in
Arizona, but about 50 psyllids were recently
found around Lake Havasu City. That prompted state officials to put a 20-mile area under quarantine, which means
nobody can move citrus plants to areas outside the quarantine and the public
should only buy citrus trees or fruit that have been inspected and certified.
production in Arizona
is worth about $37 million to our agricultural economy," said John Caravetta, Associate Director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture. "The sale of citrus
nursery stock, as well, is very, very important to our nursery industry and it is
very much in demand by the public.”
of Yuma County has been under quarantine since
2009. Caravetta said his department thinks that area has succeeded in
eradicating the insects.