Citrus quarantine reaches Maricopa County

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona is again expanding its citrus quarantine because of a tiny insect which has devastated groves in Florida.
 
The state Department of Agriculture announced Thursday that it is adding a small part of Maricopa County around Gila Bend to the areas under quarantine for the Asian Citrus Psyllid.
 
Quarantine areas already extended southward from Mohave County into La Paz County and from Yuma County eastward into western Pima county, as well as a small part of Santa Cruz County.
 
The psyllid, which is smaller than the point of a ballpoint pen, can carry citrus greening disease. Arizona officials say they're watching for the first sign of the disease itself.
 
State quarantines restrict movement of potential carriers such as uncertified fruit, leaves or plants, and Arizona requires treatment of any commercial citrus groves or nursery where the disease has been detected.

"We've all done a good job slowing the progress of the insect, but we have to do more," said John Caravetta, Department of Agriculture associate director for Plant Services. "We urge the public to not take citrus fruit, plants or cuttings from the areas within the quarantines. We have too much at stake to not pay attention to the immense threat of this tiny insect."
 
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