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Safer Alternatives To Combat Asian Citrus Psyllid
updated: Apr 18, 2013, 4:04 PM

Provided by Todd Bebb of Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association

Safer Alternatives To Soil Application of Imidacloprid To Combat Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP)

You have a choice! If you do not want pesticides applied to your citrus trees, you have the option to "opt out" of soil application of Imidacloprid, a pesticide labeled as "highly toxic" to bees.

To do so, please call (800) 491-1899 as soon as possible. Otherwise, your property will be treated with Imidacloprid.

If you do choose to "opt out" of the soil application of Imidacloprid by the CDFA, please:

1. Educate yourself by reading the following website: AnrCatalog.UcDavis.edu

2. Monitor your citrus trees for ACP using the photos on the website as a guide. Include a search for all insect stages, including the gray to brownish adults and the brightly colored yellow-orange eggs and nymphs. Yellow or green sticky cards can be used as an additional method for detecting adult psyllids.

3. Collect and Report any signs of infestation of ACP immediately to the Santa Barbara County Agriculture Commissioner at 681-5600.

4. Prevent the spread of ACP to your citrus trees by doing one or more of the following:

a. Mechanical/Physical Control - Cover your citrus tree(s) with tree bag nets to prevent the adult psyllid from landing. You may make your own out of mosquito netting (or tulle fabric) or order online at: tree net bags order; or

b. Biological Control - Apply the Coccinellid predatory beetles (Olla v-nigrum (Mulsant) and Harmonia axyridis Pallas) to the trees or the parasitic wasp (Tamarixia radiata). Call Rincon Vitova for more information at 643-5407; or

c. Chemical Control - Apply oils every 10-14 days such as:
i. Petroleum oil (,25%), or
ii. Ecotrol (16oz/50 gallons of water), or
iii. Trilogy (need oil) 1% (maximum 2.5 gallons per acre).
iv. For more information on application, see: https://www.sdfarmbureau.org/ACP/ACP-SamplingManagemen%20Plans.pdf

Honeybees are responsible for the pollination of at least 95 kinds of crops. Local beekeepers and supporters of beekeeping are highly committed to providing a safe, healthy, and pesticide free environment for honeybees as well as other important pollinators.

For more info, contact Todd Bebb Santa Barbara Beekeeper's Association todd@sbba.org and visit OptOutGoleta.com

To avoid toxic pesticides being applied to your property, call (800) 491-1899

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 399238 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 04:22 PM

Didn't they already start spraying today?


 COMMENT 399252P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 04:56 PM

Didn't the introduction of the European Honeybee cause a decrease in the numbers of native American bees?


 COMMENT 399262P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 05:35 PM

Which areas are being sprayed?


 COMMENT 399263 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 05:35 PM

Are the "beekeepers association" deisgnated experts on insuring that the ACP does not take over our citrus groves? But hey, as long as our "hobby behives" are ok, who cares, right?


 COMMENT 399266 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 05:41 PM

Honey bees> citrus


 COMMENT 399269 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 06:03 PM

If we don't control pests the fruit trees will die and there won't be much need for bees.


 COMMENT 399275P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 06:29 PM

If you don't have bees, you don't need the trees. People it needs to be both, not one or the other.


 COMMENT 399277 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 07:08 PM

263 - the SBBA is probably the only organization in this area who truly understands the bees and what they need and how to safeguard them. Bees are critical to all life....without pollination bad things would happen.


 COMMENT 399284 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 07:57 PM

Is one person's "hobby" beehive of less value than another's "hobby" lemon tree?


 COMMENT 399292P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 08:26 PM

They aren't spraying in the La Cumbre area where they found several psyllids. Even if they wipe them out here, it will only be temporary until psyllids spread here from other neighborhoods. So, if they aren't serious about it everywhere, why do we have to wipe out our bees?


 COMMENT 399302P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 09:36 PM

Pesticides in any form are never a good idea. Period. Todd, you are my hero for putting this info out there and letting people know that they do, indeed, have a choice and can chose to be smart and enviro.

Anyone who thinks bees aren't critical to human existence needs to google info on China and attempts to pollinate by hand. I love bees and I love my citrus trees (I have four). I would NEVER EVER allow any spraying of my trees. Why? Because I know better. Pesticide use needs to stop, now.


 COMMENT 399305P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-18 09:54 PM

Back in the '80s, they sprayed malathion in the Bay Area to get rid of medflies. Wikipedia says that the final step to getting rid of medflies was releasing millions of sterile male medflies. This technique has been used a couple times since when medflies were found in California. Does anyone know if the sterile male technique is being developed for use on psyllids? Seems like that might be a good idea, since it has worked before.



 COMMENT 399317 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 06:50 AM

We were bummed that the bee colony in our old oak tree vanished a couple months ago. We feared pesticides were to blame, but it was just natures process. This week we were sitting below the old hive entrance, 17 feet above us, and heard a bee swarm approach. They engulfed the oak tree and filed into the old hive while we watched. Life is back to normal with a busy hive and we actually got to be a welcoming party for our new bee family. Thank you Todd for your fine bee work.


 COMMENT 399319 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 06:58 AM


I actually presented a similar idea to my professor the other day...

You basically introduce 2 different lethal mutations, one on each X that kill only males but preserves females. These females are carriers, and pass that mutation on to all potential male progeny, so they die.

Only issue is that fertile copulating pairs will be more fit, meaning their genes will propagate more. The ACP also has a very large genome, so it hasn't been studied extensively.


 SANDYO agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 07:47 AM

Thanks Todd for informative article!


 COMMENT 399333P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 07:54 AM

Were't they soaking the ground and not spraying. Unless the bees eat dirt, what is the issue? I'll take fresh lemons over yucky honey anyway.


 COMMENT 399335 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 07:56 AM

Farming is a tough business and we should support local ag in every way possible. In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and that the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies' claims of safety have relied on may be flawed, or even deceptive.

If your sprayed trees kill the bees that your neighbor relies on to pollinate his avocado orchard, who bears the burden? Him of course. So we're willing to wipe out the avocado industry to save citrus. Are we thinking big picture here or not? What is the liability to the county?

Maybe some day all the citrus and avocados will be planted in Carob trees ;-)


 COMMENT 399339 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 08:02 AM

The ground soak pesticide is systemic. This means that the trees uptake the imidacloprid-based pesticide through the roots and then up through the entire tree, ending up in the nectar which pollinators then use and take take home. Oh yeah, and it will be in the fruit as well that you and your kids eat. The ground soak also kills all soil-based life (earthworms, mychorizal fungi, etc.) and contaminates the ground water.

Enjoy your yummy lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and lies laced with imidacloprid! Don't worry, it kills everything other life form, but I'm sure it's safe for humans . . . right?


 SBBEEBOY agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 08:04 AM

252-From what I have read, the decline of native bees has been blamed on a lack of native vegetation (replaced by lawns, paving, etc) and presumably pesticide use.
262-You can find the map, as well as a lot of info here:
263-275-I would like to point out that citrus does not need the pollinators to bare fruit, but all pollinators are very attracted to the citrus blossoms for nectar and pollen.
Everyone else-Thanks for your support and concern! SBBA completely understands the emergency status in protecting our $1.8 Billion Citrus industry from the ACP/HLB, but we also feel that especially due to the fact that no HLB has been detected, why not wait to treat until after the bloom? The label on this pesticide clearly states it's highly toxic to bees, but the State, for whatever reason feels they have the right to "interpret" the label however they see fit. They are also trying to keep this as quiet as possible, and refused to print out an Opt Out statement on their postings to the residents. All of the residents that I met yesterday told me that they thought these treatments were mandatory.


 COMMENT 399341 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 08:05 AM


It's a little more complicated than "yucky honey" vs "fresh lemons".

Asian citrus psyllids don't eat dirt either. If an insect comes in contact with a toxin, it will likely be absorbed through their spiracles on their body, not their mouth. All they have to do is land on the ground. Depending how long it takes to affect the bee, it may or may not be carried back to the hive. Since bees are eusocial, this would pose a much larger threat to them than the psyllid, which is solitary.


 COMMENT 399371P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:20 AM

I would rather eat my yummy chemical laced citrus than no citrus at all. Just so bee keepers can do what? Sell "organic" sugar direct hit "carbs". Great trade-off. Time to turn off the minority voice squawkers and get California's business machine back in business.


 COMMENT 399374P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:23 AM

Lot easier to bring in more bees later, who apparently are not even indigenous, than to replant acres of citrus trees.


 COMMENT 399375P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:25 AM

@374P: What "later"? They are not attempting to eradicate state-wide. These bugs are widespread in the LA basin.


 COMMENT 399376P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:28 AM

Weren't we worried about an invasion of killer bees a while back. Maybe eradicating them caused other bees to pack up and leave. Or was it increased cell phone use. Would everyone please give up their cell phones for a year to see if the bees come back?

My guess is Nature is tougher than what is being proposed sensibly right now to protect the important citrus industry. You chose to live in a state that is a major agricultural producer so live with the consequences of what this means.

Unless you can show the honey industry can support the state's tax base the same way the rest of California's agriculture does. Can't complain now long after you chose to impose your own selfish "organic" demands on this state's major industry.


 COMMENT 399379 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:38 AM

In the San Jose area during one of the citrus "scares" we were forced to remove ALL ORANGES on our trees and I lost my morning freshly squeezed orange juice for that year.

YES, they did check to make sure that we had done that and bagged the oranges to be picked up.

My oranges on the 55 year old tree at the property line near the street aren't really sweet yet and still very firm. I have to keep after the people walking who pull off oranges. Good crop on it along with new blossoms.

The agricultural pest control has 2 traps they've put in my large tree.


 COMMENT 399383 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 09:45 AM

beekeeper hysteria [truthfully only a couple people and their attorney] is really bizarre


 COMMENT 399415 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 10:45 AM

It's really not that hard to connect the dots 76P. Bees pollinate crops, think avocado and tree nuts, therefore bees are quite important to some of California's major agricultural industries. Try to deny that?

Yes, we could bring more bees in after a die off, but currently there is no end in sight for the treatment of ACP. This means we're starting a cycle with no end, which at best will only delay the inevitable arrival of HLB and in the process negatively affect other agriculture. Not to mention poison OUR environment, not only on large ag properties, but in our backyards.

Just cite one source that says we can spray this ACP out of California and I may change my opinion.


 COMMENT 399420 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 10:49 AM

It is more an issue of the fact that without considering the ramifications of spraying before the bloom is over, the state has decided that it will spray people's properties without letting them know that it isn't mandatory. There is a huge deficit of honeybees worldwide, and it's not as simple as to just 'bring in more' when we've killed off what we have. It's difficult to maintain healthy hives these days. Many of the crops that we all enjoy on a regular basis (almonds, stone fruit, avocados, etc.) rely nearly completely on pollination by European honeybees. If we contribute to their destruction from application of a bee-toxic pesticide that is unnecessary (since we are not fully infested and can monitor and treat accordingly), we contribute to the greater problem of entire crops failing. Since California produces and exports the majority of the nation's almonds and avocados, this honeybee loss would affect the state's economy too.


 COMMENT 399424P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 10:54 AM

Gosh, do you mean the ag industry did not know that bees pollinated crops? Why are we funding UC Davis and UC Riverside to support the state's ag industry when they did not even know this fundamental fact?


 COMMENT 399553 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 02:59 PM

424: I would rethink your statement, UC Riverside was actually part of the best solution so far; Bringing in a parasitic wasp specific to the ACP.


 COMMENT 399564 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 03:25 PM

Chemtrolls are becoming quite a problem these days. I'm just glad the bees are back.
Spread the news around, the bees are back in town.
The bees are back.
The bees are back.


 COMMENT 399634 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 05:52 PM

292, where did you hear about them being found on La Cumbre?

I spoke with the Fed Ag trap taker last week. Was told none had been found in my area, but one on the Mesa and in one in Hope Ranch. And that had we had any in the traps, we would have been contacted.

On La Cumbre with no bugs (so far)


 COMMENT 399646 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-19 06:22 PM

Is there a trap program that orange tree owners should be participating in? I'm in SB.


 COMMENT 399786P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-04-20 10:07 AM

Think again. UCRiverside has been battling the psyllid since 2008 and all it has done is spread to more and more areas. I guess their parasitic wasp approach has not worked that well after all. All they did was push it into Santa Barbara County. Time for serious action before it hits the major citrus groves of the Central and San Joaquin Valleys.


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