Residents Encouraged to Get Involved in the Fight Against Pests and Diseases Threatening California’s Backyard Gardens and Commercial Agriculture

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – April 18, 2024 – As invasive pests and diseases continue to threaten California’s vast agriculture landscape, it’s important for backyard citrus tree owners to educate themselves on the dangers that could be looming in their very own yard during Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month (IPPDAM) this April and beyond, as a lack of attention could be an invitation for deadly citrus pests and diseases.

One of the biggest threats to California citrus is the deadly citrus tree disease Huanglongbing (HLB). Since the first HLB detection in 2012, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Division (CPDPD) has detected and removed more than 7,600+ HLB-positive citrus trees from residential properties throughout Southern California. During IPPDAM and beyond, the CPDPD encourages backyard citrus owners to be proactive in combating invasive pests and diseases with tips to protect their citrus trees, as we all play a critical role in safeguarding the future of California citrus.

HLB can be spread by an invasive pest called the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a tiny insect about 1/8th of an inch long, as it feeds on citrus tree leaves and stems. Although this disease is not harmful to humans or animals, it is a death sentence for citrus trees, as there is no cure. Once a citrus tree is infected, it will die and must be removed to avoid the risk of spreading HLB to neighboring areas.

Residents with homegrown citrus can help prevent the spread of the ACP and HLB by:

  • Inspecting their trees for signs of the ACP and HLB and reporting suspicious symptoms to the free CDFA pest hotline at: 1-800-491-1899.
  • Cooperating with agricultural crews and allowing them to access their property to look and treat for the ACP.
  • Removing stems and leaves when harvesting citrus fruit and washing it thoroughly before sharing with neighbors.
  • Using registered budwood with source documentation when grafting.
  • Drying or double bagging citrus plant material prior to disposal.
  • Visiting their local, credible nursery or garden center to ask about products that will control populations of the ACP.
  • Removing unwanted or uncared for citrus trees so they do not become a host for the ACP or HLB.
  • Controlling ants throughout their yard. Ants protect harmful pests like the ACP. Place ant bait around citrus trees and follow the product’s label instructions.

HLB has been found in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and Ventura counties, establishing plant quarantine zones in these areas. Cooperation is critical to prevent the spread of the ACP and HLB, and residents should not move their homegrown citrus into or out of quarantine zones.

The ACP and HLB are not the only plant pests and diseases threatening backyard citrus. In other areas of California, invasive fruit fly populations have created additional quarantines that restrict any movement of homegrown produce – including citrus – from the property where it's grown, and no produce should be gifted from these areas. To learn more about invasive fruit fly quarantines throughout the state, visit

For more information on ACP and HLB prevention, visit

About the Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program
The Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Program was established in 2009 to advise the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and agricultural industry about efforts to combat serious citrus pests and diseases – like the Asian citrus psyllid and Huanglongbing – that threaten California’s citrus trees. To learn more, visit