California and federal officials have eradicated a light brown apple moth (LBAM) infestation in the area of Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County.
The federal domestic quarantine for the entire county and a 10-square mile state interior quarantine, both established in early 2008, have been lifted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA).
CDFA treated the area using pheromone infused twist ties applied by ground crews to host plants, trees, and fence posts following the detection of two light brown apple moths.
“The Light Brown Apple Moth is a dangerous pest that threatens the environment and food supply of California,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura.
The conditions of the quarantine were met based on extensive trapping results indicating the absence of LBAM populations for three consecutive generations. LBAM trapping activity will continue in Santa Barbara County to ensure it remains free of the pest.
The pest threatens California’s environment including cypress and oak trees by destroying, stunting, or deforming young seedlings and damaging new growth in the forest canopy.
The moth also 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 currently developing sterile insect technology to combat the infestation.
The Light Brown Apple Moth is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Hawaii. The range of host plants is broad with more than 2,000 plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest, and more than 250 crops.