The Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing (HLB) disease are new and frightening citrus pests. The psyllid is a tiny mottled brown insect, about the size of an aphid. It damages citrus directly by feeding on new leaf growth. More seriously, the insect spreads the bacterium associated with HLB. HLB can kill a citrus tree in as little as five years, and there is no known cure. The only way to protect trees is to prevent spread of HLB in the first place, by controlling psyllid populations and removing and destroying any infected trees.
To help detect the disease, home citrus growers are encouraged to go out with a magnifying glass or hand lens and look closely at new citrus growth, Look for the various stages of the psyllid: small yellow eggs, sesame-seed sized yellow young with curly white tubules or aphid-like adults that perch with their hind quarters angled up.” Pictures of the Asian citrus psyllids and its life stages are on the UC ANR website. If you find signs of the insect, call the California Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Exotic Pest Hotline at (800) 491-1899.