Asian Citrus Pest Causes Scare

Asian citrus psyllid bug

Asian Citrus Pest Causes Plant Quarantine in Sacramento

As of March 14, 2019, all of Sacramento County is under a plant pest quarantine after the Asian citrus psyllid bug was discovered in South Sacramento by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The CDFA has explained that the outbreak is a ‘grave concern,’ which has what stimulated the quarantine, even though only one psyllid bug was detected in the Lemon Hill area of Sacramento.

Asian citrus psyllid bug

What is the Asian Citrus Pest?

The Asian Citrus Psyllid is a species of bug that can carry citrus greening disease (It is also known as Huanglongbing (HLB) or yellow dragon disease), which poses a threat to all citrus and related plants. The bugs transmit a bacterial disease to healthy trees after feeding on infected plant tissue. The most concerning core impact are that once a tree is infected, it is incurable. Luckily, the disease does not affect human health. However, it does make fruit that is inedible and ultimately, infected trees will die.

Asian citrus psyllid bug

Citus greening disease

Photo Credit: aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu

What to Look For?

Experts explain that the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) is a very tiny insect that may be difficult to see. They leave a waxy discharge that is white and stringy, and much more noticeable than the actual insect. Fruit and leaves of an infected tree causes blotchy yellow leaf mottle. The disease also causes chronic decline, stunting, premature defoliation, off-season flowering, root decay, twig dieback, decreased vigor, and death of the tree. Fruit produced on these trees fails to ripen and remains predominately green with a bitter and salty flavor.

asian citrus psyllid infected leaf

Photography by Douglas L. Caldwell

Quarantine Details

The quarantine “prohibits the movement of citrus and curry leaf tree nursery stock and all plant parts except fruit out of the quarantine area.” The state, in conjunction with Sacramento County, is working together to put 200 delimitation square traps into the immediate area of the Lemon Hill find – which reaches across 4 square miles. The density of 50 delimitation traps per square miles is a powerful density for trapping and should allow professionals to get the problem under control while it is only in a very small area. The county pesticide staff will also treat all citrus plants within a 50-meter radius of the find site, which includes about 50 small trees. All residents will also be notified, within 150 meters of where the ACP was found. The entire county is under the travel quarantine.

Citrus Plant Owners

Citrus plants owners and gardeners are advised to be vigilant, ensuring citrus fruits from affected areas are not moved into unaffected areas without first removing stems and leaves and thoroughly washing all fruits. Sacramento County residents are advised to inspect trees for psyllids whenever they are out watering or tending to their trees. It is also recommended that only trees that come from reputable, licensed, local nurseries should be acquired. The CDFA also has asked for community members to reach out if they think they have discovered psyllids or observed symptoms of citrus greening disease on their plants. The CDFA’s pest hotline is 800-491-1899 and the Sacramento County agricultural commissioner at 916-875-6603.

Reach Out

If you have any questions regarding garden pests, please feel free to contact us.


Call our office at 925-240-5100 to schedule your pest control consult today. 

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