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Citrus pest confirmed in Louisiana

June 6, 2008

Commissioner  Mike Strain, D.V.M. confirmed that the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect  resembling a tiny cicada, was found in two Louisiana parishes. 

Strain  said the insect can spread citrus greening disease, a plant malady that  prevents citrus fruit from ripening and ultimately kills the tree. 

The  Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening disease are on the federal Animal  and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) list of quarantined pests.   

The  insect was confirmed on citrus trees in Orleans and Jefferson parishes last week, Strain said.  

“Inspectors  from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) and APHIS are currently conducting surveys to determine the extent of  the Asian citrus psyllid infestation across south Louisiana,” Strain  said. “All samples collected will be analyzed for both the insect and  citrus greening disease.” 

The  psyllid was first collected by an Orleans Parish backyard citrus grower  who submitted a digital photo of the insect to an LSU AgCenter Extension  entomologist, Strain said.    

The  insect has been reported in Texas and  Florida, but citrus greening disease has  only occurred in Florida.  

Strain  said as soon as the extent of the infestation can be determined, LDAF will  coordinate with APHIS to decide which Louisiana parishes need to be placed  on federal lists of infested areas for the psyllid and/or citrus greening  disease. 

Citrus  is a $6.4 million commercial  agricultural industry in Louisiana. To view  pictures of the Asian citrus psyllid and learn more about the insect and  citrus greening disease, visit the LDAF Website at   

The  information is located under the Office of Agricultural and Environmental  Sciences, Horticulture and Quarantine Programs, Plant Pest Quarantine  programs.