Monterey County

Citrus growers on the lookout for plant disease

Citrus psyllid found close to South County farms

"If we see it then we freak out," said citrus grower Steve Mclntyre.

Growers on the Central Coast are on high alert now that the citrus psyllid was found in a homeowner's backyard this past April, not far from Monterey County, in Arroyo Grande. 

"It's pretty much wiped out a good portion of the citrus industry, and so that's why it's imperative that we try to keep the psyllid out of Monterey County or any other place that it's not in order to keep that disease from becoming an issue," said Mclntyre.

The pest was first found in California back in 2008. Growers said the pest has the potential to transmit the citrus greening disease which would kill any tree that it infects. 

"The good news is there's only been one tree in the bac yard of a home in east Los Angeles  that has tested positive for the disease. That's the good news," said Mclntyre.

Growers do tests for the citrus psyllid with traps. So far, none have been found in Monterey County, but it wouldn't take much to transport the pest north. 

"We deal with Southern California packing houses, so the bins are being, you know, taken down there, or our lemons are being taken down there and the empty bins are coming back, and that's where we think the exposure lies," said  Mclntyre.

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