Prompted by new trap catches, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has expanded the quarantined area for light brown apple moth in Sonoma and Santa Clara counties.

The new quarantine includes about 18 square miles in Sebastopol and expansion of an existing quarantine in Milpitas by about 64 square miles, according to a news release.

About 2,400 square miles are now under quarantine in the state for the pest. As of March 13, more than 71,000 moths have been trapped in 16 counties.

The pest was first detected in February 2007 by a private citizen near Berkeley, Calif.

Regulations prohibit movement of nursery stock, cut flowers and all host fruits and vegetables from within the quarantine zone unless they have been inspected by agricultural officials and found free of the pest.

U.S. Department of Agriculture rules apply to interstate movement of host materials.

The light brown apple moth is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Hawaii. 

More than 2,000 plant species, including 250 crops, are known hosts to the pests.

The moth feeds on host plants and damages or spoils the appearance of ornamental plants, citrus, grapes and deciduous fruit tree crops. 

State and federal agriculture officials are developing sterile insect technology to combat the infestation.

 


For more information on the moth, visit http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/lbam.