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A pest that can devastate the state's citrus industry

This is Science Today. State and federal officials have launched an aggressive campaign to quash a bug that could potentially devastate California's 1.3 billion dollar citrus industry. Entomologist Beth Grafton-Cardwell of the University of California, Riverside says the tiny insect is called the Asian Citrus Psyllid. It's a carrier of a deadly bacterial plant disease called huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease.

Grafton-Cardwell:      Huanglongbing and Asian Citrus Psyllid come from Asia and India and they have slowly been working their way together around the world and we know that eastern parts of Mexico also have the disease and this makes it of high concern because that means it can gradually work its way to California.

Narrator:        So far, small populations of the bug have been found in portions of California's San Diego and Imperial counties. An aggressive control and quarantine program has been implemented there by local and federal agencies to protect the state from this invasive pest.

Grafton-Cardwell:      The University of California has been heavily involved in extension of information and preparation for research.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.