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Author Topic: Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?  (Read 390 times)


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Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?
« on: January 02, 2018, 10:39:45 PM »
tl;dr: Reported suspected HLB in a stranger's front yard lemon tree in August. CDFA (a state agency) replies ask me (a private citizen) to arrange for samples with the unknown homeowner. How can we slow ACP/HLB if it takes half a year for a CDFA inspection?

Four months ago, I reported a lemon tree in Westchester, CA to the Asian Citrus Psylid / Huanglongbing (Citrus Greening) branch of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The tree is infested with ACP and showing potential signs of citrus greening, but it's not in my yard -- it's in the non-fenced and non-gated front yard of a stranger's property, and I only see it when I walk our dog down a particular street (not on our usual route).

I recorded the address, and sent a note to the CDFA's Report A Pest email. I indicated the date, the suspected HLB, the address of the property (and that it was in the front yard), and that I did not know the landowner. To their credit, a response: "please send photos." It seemed that despite the report, no action would be taken without imagery. Nonetheless, a few weeks later I was again on that street, took a photo, and sent it in.

The response from CDFA (bolded emphasis is mine):
Our State Entomologist in Sacramento sent me the following information in response to the picture you submitted:

“It appears that the resident is correct—this does appear to be an infestation of Asian citrus psyllid.  It appears there is some asymmetrical yellow mottling of the leaves.  This is characteristic of what we are asking residents to look for HLB.  I recommend that we have someone collect a sample of symptomatic tissue and psyllids for testing the next time we are working in the area”.

Your information will be provided to the CDFA office that is in charge of your area. Once the office receives your information your call will be handled in the order it was received and an inspector will contact you to make arrangements to pick up samples. Can you please email your name, and contact phone number.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt and sent a response reminding them that the tree wasn't at my house, that I didn't know the homeowner, and that it was accessible in the front yard of the address provided. I asked why I would be responsible to make arrangements for samples as a private citizen, instead of their organization (given that their organization is chartered to handle exactly that kind of thing)?

The response:
I received your email in regards to the property not being in your home. In order for an inspector to survey the property we would need permission from the homeowner. If it is possible to have the homeowner call CDFA to have an inspector survey the citrus tree located in the front yard that would be great.

Every indication is that they're expecting me to facilitate this exchange. Is it incorrect of me to think that CDFA should apply their "government agency" card here to contact the homeowner and continue this process?


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Re: Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 01:29:46 AM »
I've wondered what would happen if someone cared enough to call in suspected HLB cases. Thank you for posting the details to give other people an idea of what need to be done.

Seems like it'll deter the casual concerned individuals. I hope they'll follow up either way.

Feels like they can force removal of the tree if there's HLB but can't test the tree in the first place if the homeowner doesn't let them.


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Re: Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 11:05:56 AM »
One HLB infected citrus tree left growing can infect many of the surrounding citrus in the area.   Certainly sounds like the CDFA who is charged with enforcing the fight against HLB, especially in residential areas, is wanting you a private citizen to do all of their leg work.  This is your government at "work".   As a side thought, your post would make a great letter to the editor of your local newspaper.


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Re: Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 11:30:20 AM »
This is very sad to hear. All that money in state taxes that we pay and they still want us to do all of the work. ill bring this up to some friends who work in US agriculture. They might have some contacts they can reach out to. Thank you for this information.


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Re: Is this why we're losing the HLB fight in California...?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 12:00:22 PM »
I hope you will report your findings to the local and regional papers, the local and state governments and your national congressman and senators.  Perhaps this will light a fire to send people, effort and money for more effective management. 

If the response is muted it may be that they have already given up and intend only to observe the spread of the disease. 


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