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