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  • Writer's picturePosted by: EPSD Staff

USDA contractor brings demo of Asian Citrus Psyllid detection K-9 to Arizona.

By: Yuma EPSD Staff

Under contract with the US Department of Agriculture, California-based company, Canine Detection Services (CDS), has developed a canine training program for the detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), a pest that is vector for "citrus greening" disease which causes serious damage to citrus plants and citrus plant relatives.

ACP was first identified in China in the 1990's and later wreaked havoc in Florida and has now has also been found in California and Texas. Fortunately, Arizona remains free from this citrus destroying disease. If ACP are found in the Yuma area, through the department's ACP trapping program, the Yuma County Pest Abatement District (YCPAD) quickly has the area sprayed.

According to Canine Detection Services' CEO, Lisa Finke, canine-assisted ACP scouting has shown to be more than 90 percent accuracy when tested in various environments.

Earlier this month, Finke and her company brought 5 dogs trained to detect the presence of ACP to Yuma where they provided a demonstration to members of the Plant Services Section. Jack Peterson, Associate Director of the Environmental & Plant Services Division was present for the demo. AD Peterson was impressed with how well these trained dogs detect Asian Citrus Psyllid. He said, "Running these K-9's through the large number of orchards in Arizona does not seem viable or realistic however it could be used in neighborhoods where homes have citrus trees."

CDS is currently using these canines on a trial basis in Arizona working with USDA inspectors.

Rachel Paul, AZDA-PSS Field Operations Manager explained that with federal funding, the Arizona Department of Agriculture operates a very successful ACP detection program through the deployment of trapping and other detection efforts geared towards identifying this pest and working with growers who quickly take mitigation action following a notification of ACP detection.

"Yuma has not seen an outbreak of Asian Citrus Psyllid since the early 2000's. This is due to AZDA's strict quarantine program and proactive surveillance efforts and the quick response of the YCPAD", said Paul.

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