Two light brown apple moths have been newly detected in California and as a result, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has established a 19-square-mile quarantine in an area straddling Sonoma and Napa counties. It’s now illegal to move any nursery stock, cut flowers, host fruits or vegetables, or plant parts within this area (PDF map), or remove them from the area, unless such material is certified as pest free by an agricultural official, is purchased at a retail outlet, or was produced elsewhere and is passing through in accordance with accepted safeguards. The moth, native to Australia, attacks a broad range of host plants including some 250 crops. According to the USDA, a general infestation in California could cause billions of dollars in crop damage annually. Quarantines are already in effect in the counties of Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and Solano, in areas where the moth was previously detected. “This quarantine is designed to keep the moths from moving out of the area,” said A.G. Kawamura, California’s secretary of food and agriculture. “It is a necessary step so that we can contain and eventually eradicate this pest from California and to protect the rest of the state from added quarantines and increased pesticide use over the long term.”
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About Curt Kipp
Curt Kipp is the director of publications and communications at the Oregon Association of Nurseries, and the editor of Digger magazine.