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Citrus pest found in St. James Parish

September 18, 2008

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said St. James Parish was added to the list of parishes confirmed to have Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), an insect that carries a devastating citrus disease.
This brings the total number of parishes confirmed for ACP to eight.
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.
In addition to the psyllid confirmation in St. James Parish, citrus greening was identified in a single orange tree at a residence located in Washington Parish this month. This is the second location where HLB has been found in Louisiana. The first confirmed case was in a lime tree in Orleans Parish in June.
Strain said state and federal inspectors are continuing a statewide survey of citrus areas to determine the extent of the range of the psyllid and the disease.
“We’ll protect the Louisiana citrus industry any way we can,” Strain said. “For the time being we are amending the current quarantine restrictions to include St. James and Washington parishes.”
Most recently, the insect was confirmed in St. James Parish in August. Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Charles parishes were confirmed in June. The Lafourche, St. Tammany and Terrebonne cases were confirmed in July.
Washington Parish will be quarantined for HLB, while Orleans Parish is quarantined for both HLB and Asian citrus psyllid. Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles, Lafourche, St. James, St. Tammany and Terrebonne parishes are quarantined only for ACP.
The quarantines mean no citrus nursery stock, including Orange or Lakeview jasmine, may be moved outside of Orleans or Washington parishes because of the HLB presence.
Citrus nursery stock fromJefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. James, Lafourche, St. Tammany and Terrebonne may be moved within the state under a state limited permit issued by LDAF and to other non-citrus producing states under a federal limited permit issued by USDA following treatment for ACP.
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, St. James Parish has more than 15 acres of citrus in production.
The psyllid was first found by an Orleans Parish resident 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, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana Mississippi and South Carolina, but citrus greening disease has only occurred in Florida and in two parishes in Louisiana.
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 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.
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