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News Release

California Department of Food and Agriculture

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

California Department of Food and Agriculture
Release #08-021
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SACRAMENTO, March 14, 2008 – California’s Primary State Entomologist, Dr. Kevin Hoffman, has performed a thorough review of the document, “Integrated Pest Management Practices for the Light Brown Apple Moth in New Zealand: Implications for California” (Harder, Rosendale) and has issued the following statement: 

“This view (the paper) oversimplifies the case, and the authors omit key points regarding the damage from the introduction of non-native natural enemies. My thorough review of the document and my comments, corrections and observations are listed in detail at, citing relevant sources where applicable.

In addition, Dr. Max Suckling, Science Leader, Biosecurity/Programme Leader, Insecticide Risk Reduction in New Zealand Horticulture for the federal agency HortResearch, and member of the Technical Working Group advising CDFA and USDA on the ongoing Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Eradication Program in California, has expressed to me his dissatisfaction with the paper as it relates to comments attributed to his agency’s employees:
‘The report did not incorporate editorial changes suggested by HortResearch personnel, and chose to instead draw erroneous conclusions that can and should be challenged.  In conclusion, my colleagues and I would like to distance HortResearch from this report. The report’s authors solicited HortResearch to provide corrections, which were offered in a timely manner but unfortunately were not incorporated.’ ”

Dr. Suckling has been researching the light brown apple moth for more than 20 years and has authored numerous studies on the pest.

The Technical Working Group is also reviewing the Harder/Rosendale report and may offer more in-depth comments in the future.

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 two-thousand plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest, and more than 250 crops. It threatens California’s environment—including cypress, redwood 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 favored by a number of endangered species; spoils the appearance of ornamental plants; and injures citrus, grapes, and deciduous fruit tree crops.

A cooperative eradication program run jointly by CDFA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is already underway to suppress and eradicate infestations in nine counties along California’s Central Coast and Bay Area. Since its detection in February 2007, the Light Brown Apple Moth has been found and quarantines have been enacted in the counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Alameda and Solano. A quarantine is pending in Santa Barbara County.

Small, isolated infestations detected last year in Los Angeles and Napa counties have already been eradicated. Twist ties that emit moth pheromone were utilized in both counties.  In Sonoma County, where a single moth has been detected, intensive trapping is underway to learn if there are more.

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




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