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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

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

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #07-044
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Single moth trapped in residential area; expanded trapping is underway

SACRAMENTO – May 16, 2007 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have confirmed the detection of a single adult light brown apple moth on May 9 in a residential area of Napa. The announcement follows lab confirmation by entomologists with CDFA, and then supporting confirmation by USDA scientists.

“This moth is a threat not only to agriculture but also to our urban environment—our landscaping, our parks and our natural habitat,” said CDFA Secretary A.G. Kawamura.  “We are moving quickly to detect the extent of any infestation and contain the problem in the smallest possible area.”

CDFA, USDA and the county agricultural commissioner’s office have already begun setting and collecting additional traps in the area to determine the extent of the problem. No additional moths have been found in the vicinity to date.

The pest has also been detected over the past several weeks in several Bay Area and Central Coast communities.  Agricultural officials have established a quarantine of approximately 182 square miles, including portions of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties.  The quarantine is expected to expand soon due to more recent detections of the pest in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

The light brown apple moth is of particular concern because it can damage a wide range of plants including many commonly found in our urban and suburban landscaping, public parks, and natural environment.  The list of agricultural crops that could be damaged by this pest includes Napa County’s famed grapes as well as citrus, stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, apricots) and others.  The complete “host list” contains over 250 plant species.  The pest damages plants and crops by feeding on leaves, new shoots and fruit.

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 group will meet in San Jose this Thursday and Friday, May 17-18, to discuss California’s situation and make recommendations about the project.

CDFA, USDA and local agricultural officials will 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
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814