Protecting the Citrus: Understanding the Plague of the Plant-Killing Pests

Pest ControlWe’re all familiar with the saying “April showers bring May flowers,” and that’s well and good. The pleasant climate and the late spring blossoms, unfortunately, also attract pests into the garden. So, while it could be a bit challenging to care for greenery as it is, getting rid of pests is another hurdle.

The Citrus Tree Plague

In Orange County, a winged insect the size of a rice grain threatens to destroy citrus trees all over California. Although plants and insects have a generally amiable relationship, the Asian citrus psyllid pest contaminates citrus trees with a lethal bacteria called Huanglongbing. The bacteria causes leaves to grow asymmetrically. Yellowed and moldy leaves with a distinct lack of ripened fruits are an indicator of the infection, as well.

Trees with infected fruits can be especially dangerous, especially to humans who do not recognise it for the infection that it is. Pest control specialists like Orange Coast Pest Control work to exterminate insects that invade residential areas. When the pests successfully spread the bacteria, however, it becomes a bigger problem.

The Aftermath of the Infection

Asian citrus psyllids have been pestering plants for years but recent incidents have pushed authorities to take action. Scott Brown, owner of Anaheim Wholesale Nursery and Landscape Supply, stopped selling citrus trees years back when he realised that he was spending excessively on treatments for his trees. Brown warns owners to check stems and leaves for a white, waxy substance for future signs of the infection.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) placed the at-risk Southern California counties – the San Gabriel Valley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside – under quarantine to protect the state’s citrus supply. Even citrus plants sold at farmer’s markets must meet health regulations to ensure that the bacteria doesn’t spread. Jeff Croy, Orange Country Agricultural Commissioner, will carry out treatment programs for all infected plants in the area, and he reminds residents to report any further signs of infection.

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The Asian citrus psyllid will not be the last insect to pose risks to agricultural conditions and the health of citrus trees. Taking precautionary steps towards exterminating pests is always important.