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KPBS Midday Edition

Stopping Spread Of Bug A Must For San Diego's Citrus Industry, Backyard Growers

Citrus at organic farm Rancho Del Sol in San Diego County is shown in this undated photo.
KPBS Staff
Citrus at organic farm Rancho Del Sol in San Diego County is shown in this undated photo.
A citrus tree disease known for killing trees has been found in Oceanside.

Agriculture officials have quarantined 68 square miles of land in North County to protect citrus trees from a deadly and invasive bug that has been found on citrus trees in the area. The disease is capable of destroying fruit and eventually killing the trees.

As of now, there is no cure for the disease known as “citrus greening,” so stopping the spread is crucial to protecting trees belonging to both backyard growers and San Diego’s commercial citrus industry. The disease is transmitted by a tiny insect, called the Asian citrus psyllid.

KPBS Midday Edition spoke with San Diego County Agricultural Commissioner Ha Dang on Monday. She said this bug could potentially lead to higher prices for citrus fruit in the future if the citrus industry is impacted.

"This is considered the most devastating disease of citrus in the world," Dang said.

The state quarantine area is bordered on the north by Stagecoach Road in Camp Pendleton, on the south by Tamarack Road in Carlsbad, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the east by Santa Fe Avenue in Vista.

Even with the quarantine in place to help stop the spread of this disease, Dang said the spread is still happening.

"Well, in early August when the state declared the quarantine, we had two infected citrus trees," Dang said. "Now, that number has increased to eight. So there is that potential for increase, but we all need to work together to limit the spread of the pest and the disease."

She said researchers are currently working on a cure.