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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 #07-078
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Interested parties encouraged to sign-up on CDFA web site

SACRAMENTO  – An e-mail update system is being put into place for updates on pheromone applications for the Light Brown Apple Moth, which are scheduled to resume from October 9-12 on the Monterey Peninsula. The system will also be available for subsequent applications, including those scheduled for November 4-9 in the North Salinas/Boronda, Prunedale/Royal Oaks and greater Santa Cruz areas.

On the evenings of applications, CDFA intends to send an e-mail to subscribers announcing intended areas of treatment, weather permitting. And on mornings following treatment, CDFA intends to e-mail subscribers with results of the just-completed application. E-mails will include a link to a map showing progress.

Those interested in receiving e-mail updates may sign up at:

While conventional insecticides are designed to kill insects, pheromones are designed to distract or confuse them so that they cannot breed.  In nature, the pheromone is released by the female moth to attract a mate. The “scent” is undetectable to humans and is highly specific to the light brown apple moth, so it does not affect other kinds of insects or animals. The aerial releases are intended to surround the local moth population with pheromone so that the male moths can’t locate the female moths. The moth population will decline and collapse as the rate of breeding slows and eventually subsides. The pheromone remains effective for about a month.

The pheromone, an odorless material called Checkmate LBAM-F, has been reviewed and approved by the federal EPA and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation; and has accepted for use by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Department of Forestry. The product has been registered for over a decade with no reports of any health or environmental effects. Public health officials and toxicologists have stated that the pheromone does not appear to be toxic to people, pets or plants and that humans are unable to react to or even recognize insect pheromones. Additionally, widely respected environmental groups are accepting this approach: including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Monarch Watch, and the Monterey County-based Otter Project. 

Over the past few months, Central Coast and East Bay communities have been part of a regional quarantine that has helped keep the infestation from spreading to other areas of the state. The pheromone treatments are the next step toward eradication. Pheromone releases in other infested areas will be planned as the program progresses.

The light brown apple moth is of particular concern because it can damage a wide range of crops and other plants including the Central Coast’s prized cypress as well as redwoods, oaks and many other varieties 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 grapes, citrus, stone fruits (peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries, apricots) and many others.  The complete “host list” contains well over 250 plant species.  The pest damages plants and crops by feeding on leaves, new shoots and fruit.


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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814