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Destructive Insect Found in North County

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The California Department of Food and Agriculture trapped an Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in a commercial grove located just north of Fallbrook near the Riverside County border June 11. This type of insect is known for damaging citrus plants by feeding on leaf tissues, posing a threat to San Diego County’s 14,000 acres of citrus, which as of 2010 were valued at $78 million. However, the even larger risk is the bacterium the bugs may carry that cause Huanglongbing disease (HLB), also known as citrus greening. Symptoms include yellow shoots, mottling and yellowing of the leaves. Infected trees suffer stunted growth and sparse foliage and eventually die. No cure exists and diseased trees must be removed as quickly as possible to prevent any spreading.