Order affects county west of Coachella Valley

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — The discovery of a long-feared insect pest in a citrus tree near Redlands has prompted a quarantine order that prevents people from taking homegrown fruit out of neighborhoods in western Riverside County, according to reports on Saturday.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise said 1,780 square miles of Riverside County, lying west of the Coachella Valley, have been quarantined.

The move is a hoped-for check to the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid, a moth-sized parasite that does not by itself harm citrus trees. The bug, however, spreads a disease called huanglingbing, which causes a tree to put out bitter, shriveled fruit, and then die.

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KNX 1070’s Pat Haslam reports psyllids have already been found in most of Southern California.

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Huanglingbing has devastated citrus crops in Florida.

Under terms of the quarantine, no home-picked fruit can be taken out of the area.

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