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More And More Invasive Insects Are Being Found In California

More And More Invasive Insects Are Being Found In California

Some experts are convinced that a major agricultural crisis will soon occur within the state of California. Since California is a large state that spans across the greater portion of the west coast, many shipping vessels dock there. These vessels are often carrying insects that will prove to be invasive to the natural environment in the state. Invasive insects can make it into California through international air travel as well. The Los Angeles airport sees fifty thousand visitors per day, but not every piece of luggage can be checked. The amount of new invasive insects arriving in California has increased by about fifty percent since 1989, and many researchers believe climate change is a large factor.

California has always seen a relatively high amount of invasive insects. In 1989, experts determined that California sees about six new invasive insects each year. But by 2010 this number jumped to nine new invasive insects arriving each year. According to Mark Hoddle who is an entomologist and biological control specialist working at the University of California at Riverside, this recent influx of damaging invasive pests is becoming a “recipe for disaster”. Huddle believes that a few invasive insects could potentially cause irreversible damage. For example, the Asian citrus psyllid could cause an “existential threat” to California’s three billion dollar per year citrus industry.

This psyllid sucks the sap from trees. But it also transmits a bacteria while feeding on tree sap. The bacteria causes the fruit on citrus trees to become bitter, dry, misshapen and sometimes they disappear entirely. Florida is already seeing an unprecedented amount of infected citrus trees. Some experts believe that Florida may not even have a citrus industry in ten years as a result of Asian citrus psyllid activity. In addition to the Asian citrus psyllid, the gold spotted oak borer has already killed tens of thousands of trees in California, and their population is only increasing. Not all invasive insects in California can be eradicated, so officials are focusing only on the most devastating of insect pests.

Putting aside shipping vessels, could individual yachts or large boats that may be carrying insect pests arrive in California from other countries?