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Bug hunters deployed in suburban L.A. after citrus disease detected

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State agricultural officials in suburban Los Angeles have been frantically walking door-to-door setting traps and collecting tissue samples from backyard citrus trees in an effort to stop a full-blown arborcide.

Last week, the devastating tree-killing disease, huanglongbing, was detected locally, prompting the deployment of bug detectives to investigate a half-mile radius from the discovery.

By the end of the weekend, 435 properties had been surveyed, 178 "host plants" were identified, and samples were taken from 57 potentially infected trees.

One confirmed case of huanglongbing, commonly referred to as citrus greening, has been reported. Symptoms exhibited by sick trees include yellowing of new shoots, misshapen fruit, and leaf blotching. 

The state is seeking emergency authority to spray trees in the area -- the disease caused billions of dollars in damage across Florida since its detection there in 2005.


Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter - @lisa_brenner