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California Department of Food and Agriculture

Media Contacts: Steve Lyle, Director of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,,

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #07-028
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Rules to halt spread of pest to stay in place until quarantine is set

SACRAMENTO, March 28, 2007 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture has established an interim regulatory action to try to halt the spread of light brown apple moth, an invasive species, in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The interim action will remain in place until CDFA, the USDA, and agricultural commissioners in both counties establish a quarantine for the pest.

“It is very important that we stop the spread of this serious pest as soon as possible,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “That’s why I’m personally asking the people of Alameda and Contra Costa counties to follow this interim action carefully. Our ability to protect the environment depends on it.”   

The first detection of light brown apple moth in the area came on February 27. Since then, more than 30 have been detected in the communities of Alameda, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and Richmond. Trapping and surveying will continue in the area to learn the parameters of the infestation. Once that is established, a quarantine will be proposed.

Light brown apple moth is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Hawaii.  The range of host plants is broad with more than 250 plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest.  Major domestic hosts of concern are stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and apricots), apples, pears, grapes and citrus.

The pest destroys, stunts or deforms young seedlings; spoils the appearance of ornamental plants; and injures deciduous fruit-tree crops, citrus and grapes.

The interim regulatory action is directed at wholesale nurseries, retail nurseries, and community and school gardens. The details are as follows:

Wholesale Nurseries – Wholesale nursery operators will be asked to sign compliance agreements stating that they will inspect host plants before shipment and certify that they are free-from light brown apple moth. If the nurseries are infested, plants must be treated and then re-inspected before they are shipped.

Retail Nurseries – Retail nurseries will be inspected and, if infested, will be asked to remove infested plants or plant parts. Discarded plants or plant parts will be double-bagged and placed in landfills.    

Community and School Gardens – Host fruits and vegetables, which include the items listed above and spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower, may not be removed from school and community gardens.

Establishments that are subject to the interim regulatory action will be contacted as soon as possible by regulatory officials.

Landscapers and yard maintenances services hauling green waste are being asked to safeguard material and haul it only to approved locations, such as transfer stations, landfills, compost facilities, and biomass facilities. In addition, CDFA, the USDA and agricultural commissioners are requesting that residents of the infestation zone please not remove any plants or plant parts from their property, including fruits, vegetables and flowers.

The USDA and CDFA have assembled a technical working group comprised of international experts on light brown apple moth to discuss survey and mitigation strategies to safeguard against this potentially damaging pest and prevent its further spread. The two agencies will continue to work together to take the appropriate regulatory action to prevent the spread of this pest in association with the movement of host commodities.


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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
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