Four adult light brown apple moths (LBAM), a pest that damages more than 2,000 types of plants and more than 250 types of crops, have been discovered in a trap set one mile east of San Diego’s Balboa Park.
The discovery will trigger a state “interior” quarantine of 1.5 miles around the site as early as next week, and a subsequent federal quarantine that could cover the rest of the county. Quarantines generally mean that plant material cannot be moved until the quarantines end.
“Additional traps have been placed in the nine square miles surrounding the find site,” said County Agricultural Commissioner Robert Atkins, “We need to determine the extent of this infestation.”
An informational meeting for San Diego County farmers and growers will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Fallbrook Community Center, located at 341 Heald Lane in Fallbrook. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in conjunction with United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) have placed additional traps around the find site.
Light brown apple moth larvae damage fruit by feeding on them, creating brown areas on the fruits’ surface. Additionally, LBAM caterpillars damage plants by feeding on leaves, buds, shoots and fruit. The moth eats fruits and vegetables such as apple, blueberry, peach, pear, strawberry, grape, cabbage, corn, pepper, and tomato. It also is found on trees, including oak, willow, poplar, walnut; and ornamentals, such as rose, chrysanthemum and dahlia. The insect is native to Australia and has been found in other areas of California.