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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

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

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #07-049
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Organic compound Bt to be utilized

SACRAMENTO – June 4, 2007 – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are announcing that the initial treatment has been scheduled for a light brown apple moth eradication project in Napa.


Details about the treatment will be explained at a public meeting in Napa, scheduled for June 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at West Park Elementary School, 2315 West Park Ave. in Napa. The first treatment is scheduled for June 18, with subsequent treatments scheduled to occur at two-week intervals.


Treatments will consist of ground application of the organic substance Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). This is a naturally occurring biological insecticide that is registered in California and commonly used on organically grown fruits and vegetables. 


A 200-meter area near State Highway 29 and W. Lincoln Ave. is to be treated. There are approximately 65-70 residential properties there.


The light brown apple moth has infested a nine-county region in the Bay Area. Although other areas are more densely infested than Napa, the eradication program will begin there in order to eliminate lightly-infested areas on the perimeter of region first - to reduce the risk of spread outward. This is consistent with recommendations from the federally-sponsored technical working group that visited the Bay Area last month to evaluate the infestation.   


CDFA and the USDA continue work on plans for other communities in the nine-county region and the agencies have established state and federal quarantine to regulate plant movement, which is also intended to reduce the risk of spread.  


The light brown apple moth, which has never before been detected in North America, 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.


For more information on the light brown apple moth, please visit

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