Detector Dog Discovers Citrus Psyllids

One of the Fresno (CA) County Agricultural Department’s Agricultural Detector Dog teams recently intercepted a shipment containing a major pest threat, the Asian citrus psyllid, at the Fresno FedEx parcel facility.

On July 10, Agricultural Specialist Stephanie LeBarron and her canine partner Chelsea were checking packages at FedEx when Chelsea “hit” on a canvas duffle bag shipped from India. The bag contained, among other items, fresh peppers and leaf material believed to be curry leaves. An inspection of the leaves showed 10 Asian citrus psyllids (adults and nymphs).

“Although Fresno receives no direct international commercial flights, other than Mexico, we still continue to be at risk from serious plant pests coming into Fresno County from around the world,” said Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Carol Hafner. The bag containing the citrus psyllids arrived in the Fresno FedEx facility via the Los Angeles FedEx facility.

Asian citrus psyllid is a small aphid-like insect. It is responsible for the spread of Huanglongbing, a very serious citrus disease also known as citrus greening that has wreaked havoc in Florida. In California, the Asian citrus psyllid has been found in San Diego and Imperial counties, although the citrus greening disease has not been found in Golden State.

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