Fatal citrus threat approaches county line
Ventura County citrus growers are bracing themselves for what could be the most dire threat their crops have ever faced. The Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive insect that can transmit an incurable, fatal disease to citrus trees, has been steadily making its way north from Mexico for months and was most recently discovered just 20 miles from the Ventura County line in Van Nuys.
That the pest will cross over into Ventura County within the next few months is almost inevitable. And if it can’t be controlled or eradicated, there’s a good chance that the county could cease to be a significant producer of citrus fruit within a decade, said John Krist, chief executive at the Ventura County Farm Bureau.
“The disease will blank out the citrus industry in this county almost overnight if we don’t respond better than Florida,” Krist said, referring to the devastation it has caused to the Sunshine State’s oranges.