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Citrus pest found in Lafourche Parish

July 8, 2008

Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. said the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), an insect that carries a devastating citrus disease, has been confirmed in Lafourche Parish.

The Asian citrus psyllid can spread citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing (HLB). HLB prevents citrus fruit from ripening and ultimately kills the tree. Both the Asian citrus psyllid and HLB are on the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) list of quarantined pests and diseases, Strain said.
“We are going to do everything we can to protect our Louisiana citrus industry,” Strain said. “We’ll amend current quarantine restrictions to include Lafourche Parish, but the LDAF Horticulture and Quarantine Division will continue to work hand in hand with APHIS to contain the insect.”
The insect was confirmed in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes in early June. Asian citrus psyllids were collected from the Thibodaux area on June 26.
Orleans Parish is quarantined for both HLB and Asian citrus psyllid, while Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles and Lafourche parishes are quarantined only for ACP.
The quarantines mean no citrus nursery stock, including Orange or Lakeview jasmine, may be moved outside of Orleans Parish because of the HLB presence.
Citrus nursery stock fromJefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles and Lafourche may only be moved within the state under limited permit issued by LDAF.  
The movement of citrus fruit is not restricted provided it is free of any leaf material. 
According to the LSU AgCenter 2007 Louisiana Agricultural Summary, Lafourche Parish is the state’s second largest parish in citrus acreage with 102 acres.
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.
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 Web site at 
The information is located under the Office of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Horticulture and Quarantine Programs, Plant Pest Quarantine programs.