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Citrus restrictions to battle pest

State officials will restrict the movement of citrus fruits and trees in parts of California's Central Valley where a potentially devastating citrus pest was discovered.

The Department of Food and Agriculture said last week the restriction will apply to 5-mile zones around two sites in Tulare County where Asian citrus psyllids were recently found. The county is part of the state's citrus belt.

Psyllids can carry the huanglongbing bacteria, which is deadly to citrus trees. The disease has not been detected in Tulare County.

Under the restrictions, only citrus fruit that has been commercially cleaned and packed can be transported outside the 5-mile zones. The cleaning process must include the removal of all stems and leaves.

State officials say they are investigating whether the recently discovered psyllids indicate an established breeding population, or whether they were hitchhikers from infested counties in Southern California.

— Staff and wire reports. Submit items to robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com


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