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Home Grown: Traps to detect microscopic California red scale insects

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - In today's Home Grown, farmers are faced with many threats in the growing process. One of those is the California red scale insects.

These tiny bugs can only be seen through a microscope, but small as they might be, they can still do some major damage.

They leave scales on the citrus fruit which takes away from the quality and lowers the price of the fruit.

Scientists created traps to test if a tree is infected with California red scale, according to manager Elene MacAdam of the Yuma County Citrus Pest Control District and the Yuma County Pest Abatement District.

"These traps consist of a female lure inside and a little sticky glue trap, and what happens is when the males go to have a flight time, they are attracted to the scent of the lure inside of the trap and then they land on the little glue trap, and we can tell if we have this insect near that growth," MacAdam explained.

The insects are not native to the state, so they are usually brought to Arizona through rose bushes or birds. 

If a tree gets infected, it will be entirely cut down and burned.

The field will need chemical treatment for the next three years. 

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April Hettinger

April was born and raised in San Diego where she loved the beach town and her two dogs, Lexi and Malibu. She decided to trade the beach for the snow and advanced her education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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Mercedes Martinez

Mercedes Martinez joined the KSWT team as anchor/producer in October 2020. You can catch her on 13 On Your Side at 4:00pm.

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