Narrator: This is Science Today. In an effort to prevent over a billion dollars worth of damage to the California citrus industry, there's an aggressive campaign to eradicate a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. University of California citrus entomologist, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, says the pest is a carrier of a bacterial disease called huanglongbing. So far, the bacteria has not been found in California, but there are lots of precautions being taken in the Southern California counties where the bug has been trapped.
Grafton-Cardwell: The retail nurseries have to have treatments on all of their citrus plants so that there isn't any chance of an Asian citrus psyllid flying into a neighborhood, getting established and then getting moved around the state because the plant was sold to a homeowner.
Narrator: There's a big push for public awareness about this bug and other pests.
Grafton-Cardwell: We want them to understand that if they bring plants from other parts of the country or other countries, like Mexico into California, that they might be carrying this psyllid or some other insect, pest or disease into California and that can create a similar problem that we're having right now.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.