A second bug known to cause devastation to citrus trees has been discovered in the county.
The Asian citrus psyllid is a pest that acts as a carrier or vector spreading Huanglongbing, a bacterial plant disease fatal for citrus trees.
The second bug was found on Gateway Drive in Pacifica about a mile south of where the first bug was discovered on St. Francis Drive in Daly City in late October.
The discovery of the bugs is prompting the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner and California Department of Food and Agriculture to begin a survey and treatment program that includes a quarantine of all citrus plant material in the area.
The bug that carries the disease, also known as “Yellow Dragon Disease,” is primarily found in tropical and subtropical Asia. The disease is not harmful to humans or animals. It was first detected in Florida in 1998 and has done an estimated $3.6 billion in damage to the state’s citrus industry.
California is the second-largest citrus producer in the nation.
It was first discovered in California in 2008. It is a tiny mottled brown insect, about the size of an aphid.
Finding the second bug will result in an expansion of the treatment areas around the find sites from 100 meters to 400 meters and increase the number of properties with citrus trees that will require treatment, according to a statement by Fred Crowder, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner.
Treatments of affected citrus trees in Daly City began Nov. 19. Treatments start in Pacifica this week.
CDFA officials have been going door to door to notify residents who have citrus trees of the planned treatments.
Treatment is voluntary with applications being supervised by California Department of Food and Agriculture staff. Applications are from the ground and material is applied only to citrus trees.
The materials being used (Tempo and Merit) are highly regulated and applications are made in such a manner to minimize any impacts to bees, residents or the environment, according to Crowder’s statement.
To additionally verify no material moves off the application site, portable air and soil monitoring equipment is used to monitor each application.
Residents who think they may have seen the pest are urged to call the Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899. Visit cdfa.ca.gov/plant/acp/ or CaliforniaCitrusThreat.org for more information on the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing disease.