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Citrus Quarantine!

To all Pini Hardware customers who grow any citrus or citrus related plants on their property, either in ground or containers: Marin County is now under citrus psyllid quarantine. Do not move or transport any citrus plants or products out of the quarantine zone (Marin County).

 

Marin County is isolated; Sonoma, Napa, and San Francisco Counties are still psyllid-free counties. Let us help them remain so.

As well as being damaging on their own, citrus psyllids also carry a disease called huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening disease, which is fatal to citrus. We hear these pests have been found in North Novato!

Pini has a list of affected plant material, as well as other information from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Identifying Psyllids and HLB

Psyllid eggs are only 0.3mm long. They are elongate, with a thick base and slim point. The eggs start pale after being laid, but become yellow as they grow older, darkening to orange before they hatch.

An immature psyllid, or nymph, starts at a length of 0.25 mm and undergoes five stages of development, or instars, before it fully matures.

Upon reaching adulthood, a citrus psyllid’s average length is 1/12 to 1/5 inch (about the size of an aphid). They have short antennae and strong legs; although they do have wings (which are transparent), they’re weak flyers, and so instead jump from one plant to another.

Adults are common in crevices of trees, while the nymphs are more often found on new shoots. As they feed on the sap of the plants that serve as their host, they produce a damaging toxin, which can inhibit shoots and deform new leaves. Perform a quick inspection of your plant’s leaves to see if there’s any damage.

The toxic saliva of the pest can be apparent on the surface. They will also sometimes secrete honeydew, so pay attention to the presence of galls and sticky substances on the plant as signs that psyllids are possibly present.

If psyllids have infected your plant with the HLB bacteria, you will notice asymmetric yellow blotches on the leaves early on. As the disease progresses, plant stunting will occur, and the host will produce smaller, lopsided fruits that are partially green even when ripe, and, in most cases, unmarketable and unfit for human consumption. There is no cure.

Psyllid Control: Prevent and Get Rid of Psyllids

  • Inspect your citrus plants regularly.
  • Control ants. Ants farm psyllids like they do aphids for honeydew. Ant baits or tanglefoot glue applied to the trunks of the plants will keep the ants at bay. Refer to directions on packaging before use!
  • Use predators such as green lacewings, ladybugs, or parasitic wasps.
  • Yellow sticky card traps catch psyllids. Use these more as an alert to their presence than control.
  • Sprinkle your plants with diatomaceous earth.
  • Use systemic neonicotinoids.
  • Keep your citrus healthy and happy to give it the best chance of avoiding this problem. Healthy plants are less attractive to insect pests.

Call the California Department of Food and Agriculture at 1 (800) 491-1899 if you suspect your citrus plant has psyllids or HLB. You can also contact the County Agricultural Commissioner at (415) 473-6700.

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