KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KGET) — The California Department of Food and Agriculture is looking to stop the continued spread of the Asian Citrus Psyllid from threatening local citrus crops by releasing Tamarixia Radiata wasps to combat them.
The Tamarixia Radiata wasps are natural predators of the Psyllid, which spread a bacterial disease called Huang Long Bing. HLB disease can kill entire groves. Huang Long Bing disease has been confirmed in more than 2,400 residential citrus trees across Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside counties, according to the CDFA department. Huang Long Bing has not been found in Kern County but the Asian Citrus Psyllid that can carry the disease has been found in Kern County. The citrus crop in Kern County covers about 65,000 acres.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid has already devastated crops in China and Florida. The Tamarixia Radiata wasps are so tiny you need a magnifying glass just to see them. The wasps’ larvae eat the psyllid.