According to a California Department of Food and Agriculture database, there are no longer any commercial citrus groves in Cabazon, Banning or Beaumont.
But Beaumont is home to Perricone Juices, which bills itself as "the largest manufacturer of fresh-squeezed citrus juice in the Western United States."
Tom Carmody, chief executive officer of Perricone Juices and Perricone Farms, says the plant on B Street employs 130 local residents, who handle 250 tons of citrus a day and produce 2,000 gallons of juice an hour.
The Perricone family is also one of the largest citrus growers in the West, with groves in California and Arizona, Carmody said.
So Carmody is worried about the recent detection of Asian Citrus Psyllid, an insect that can spread the citrus-killing disease Huanglongbing, in eight locations in the San Gorgonio Pass.
Huanglongbing is "the most devastating disease to citrus in the world," state Food and Agriculture officials warned in January.
The disease anywhere in California, but scientists warn the presence of the insect is a threat to the state's $1.8 billion citrus industry.
The psyllid was detected Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 in Banning and Cabazon, according to a state proclamation dated Jan. 20. A state map dated Jan. 20 shows eight locations in Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon.
"The traps are inspected every two weeks," Debby Tanouye, state branch chief of pest detection/emergency projects, said Thursday evening. "So, there would not be a daily update. The detection sites remain at 8."
Carmody attended a public meeting Tuesday evening called by the state Department of Food and Agriculture in Banning City Council chambers.
In an interview Thursday in his office at the juice plant, Carmody detailed his worries about the bug and the disease.
"Perricone brings citrus from all over - California, Arizona, Texas and sometimes Mexico," Carmody said.
In California, fruit is brought to Beaumont from the northern boundary of Central California, including Fresno and Monterrey, he said.
"And all the way to the California-Mexican border, all of Coachella Valley, so we definitely have a concern about what happens to the citrus.
"The Perricone family is also a major citrus grower, in Arizona and California, so a lot of our juice is supplied from our own groves," Carmody said. "In the Coachella Valley, we have them in the Central Valley, in north San Diego, in Riverside, Redlands, everywhere in the state of California.
"And that means citrus, not just oranges. That's grapefruit, lemons, and oranges. The Perricone family is the largest lemon Sunkist supplier."
At the juice plant in Beaumont, Carmody oversees an operation that buys fruit from multiple commercial growers for juice production.
"Here, we purchase from everyone, we don't just purchase from Perricone," Carmody said. "We do approximately 250 tons a day . . . 2,000 gallons of juice an hour.
"So all of the citrus we get comes from everywhere. We're very concerned about this bug we have. I want to make sure that the people understand that the USDA has not found a single bug yet that has the disease. . . . They didn't tell anybody that the other night."
The insect was first detected in California in 2008 in San Diego County. The citrus-killing disease it can spread has never been detected in California, according to state and federal agriculture officials.
The Asian Citrus Psyllid was first detected in the United States in 1998 - in Florida. The disease Huanglongbing was first detected in the United States in 2005 - again in Florida.
Within four years of Huanglongbing detection in Florida, the disease led to loss of 60,000 acres of citrus - 10 percent of the state's production, according to the University of California-Riverside.
"People need to understand that this disease is not about them losing their oranges for a year, or a crop for a year," Carmody said. "This is about killing the citrus tree forever.
"Whether I'm talking about commercial or I'm talking about a backyard, it's just as important to me to protect an orange tree or a grapefruit tree or a lemon tree that your great-grandfather planted . . . and you're sitting underneath it with your grandchildren, that tree isn't going to be there any more.
"If this disease gets in here it's going to affect everyone," Carmody said. "It's important that we carry on the tradition of citrus. Urban sprawl has affected us tremendously. Redlands and Riverside used to be filled with oranges, and because of the urban sprawl of homes we have to go farther out to find oranges.
"We don't need having a bug here to fight at the same time."
Carmody said he supports the state's plans to fight the Asian Citrus Psyllid in Cabazon, Banning and Beaumont.
The state Department of Food and Agriculture last week announced to eradicate the pest in the San Gorgonio Pass.
State scientists hope to wipe out the pest by with synthetic insecticides, Dr. Bryan Eya, state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said Tuesday night at the public meeting in Banning.
There is no quarantine on citrus in the Pass, and treated fruit is safe to eat after washing, Tanouye said, but she warned residents against transporting any citrus cuttings, plants or trees.
"This does not affect humans, does not affect your pets, the fruit is still edible," Carmody said.
"This bug travels on the leaf, so all of the fruit that we bring in to Perricone Juice, remember is picked. It has no leafs, it has no stems. We allow no leafs and no stems, just the fruit.
"The Mexican stuff . . . I require documents from the USDA as it crosses the border and I do not allow any fruit to be sent to Perricone Juice that hasn't been through a packing house and washing system in Mexico," Carmody said.
"It isn't picked from the tree and put in the box. It goes through a washing system. Here, our fruit is treated very heavily to make it ok for fresh juice. But still, what we do here is unimportant, what's important is what the people do to get the fruit to us.
"What happens with these quarantines that costs everybody, maybe their jobs, or money at the grocery store, or juice costs, is that if your fruit is found to have, if you're a commercial grower, to have the insect and you're in a quarantine area that means you can't take your fruit out of the quarantine area.
"Beaumont and Banning is a spray area . . . there is no quarantine here. I can get fruit. But if that bug comes in with the disease then any place that has that bug is quarantined. You will not be able to take anything out of there."
The disease Huanglongbing is currently considered an active threat in Florida, Georgia, portions of South Carolina and Louisiana, and as of last week, Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, where quarantines are in effect, Lawrence E. Hawkins of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Wednesday.
"We need to make sure this bug doesn't travel," Carmody said. "The disastrous thing would be that it got to the Central Valley. That would be a major disaster to the agriculture and economic situation of the state of California.
"We need to do whatever we need to do to stop this bug. So people need to be assured that when these people knock on the door, they've got a badge, they're in a uniform, you know this is just about spraying your trees, and it's important that we do it.
"It's important for the trees in your yard, it's important for the commercial aspect as well.
"This is not coming just from me, it is from a commercial standpoint because it would affect Perricone Juice, but I'm concerned about people that have their own trees. The trees will go away and they won't be back if the disease comes."
The synthetic pesticides are non-selective, meaning they will kill other insects, including the ones that are vital to citrus.
"The one thing that we want to make sure, one of the things we utilize in citrus growing is bees," Carmody said. "Bees are used to pollinate the orange blossoms. This spray will kill bees, absolutely without question, it will kill bees.
"So anybody that's a beekeeper, anybody that has bees, whether it's for your personal use, for honey, or for pollinating the citrus, we must contact them and get them to move their bees. Move your bees out, if you're a beekeeper, because it will kill bees."
Perricone Juices has been at its location in Beaumont for 20 years, Carmody said.
"All our employees are from the Beaumont-Banning community, and that's the way we like it," Carmody said. "I am here because of the city of Beaumont.
"They're the reason that I'm not anywhere else. It's a great city to work with. They're forward thinking, they are very proactive. They support businesses, they support us. They help us and we help them."
For more information about the Asian Citrus Psyllid and the disease Huanglongbing, visit the Department of Food and Agriculture's ACP site.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture lists the following contacts for Asian Citrus Psyllid reports and questions:
Report A Pest Hotline: 1 (800) 491-1899
Eradication Information: 1 (800) 491-1899
Quarantine Information: (916) 654-0312
Pest Detection / Emergency Projects: (916) 654-1211