Light brown apple moths found in Cayucos
August 10, 2011
Two light brown apple moths were discovered in Cayucos in traps set in residential landscapes by San Luis Obispo County agriculture inspectors. [The Tribune]
Additional traps have been set throughout the area to gauge the extent of the infestation.
The adult insect is an invasive species from Australia that can damage countless species of plants, including natives, ornamentals, and food crops, with the estimated potential to cause more than $100 million in damage in the state, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The pest “is not established in the continental United States and, therefore, other states within the U.S. would likely impose restrictions on the movement of potentially infested fruits, vegetables and nursery stock,” the CDFA states. “These restrictions could severely impact the domestic marketing of California agricultural products.”
The female moth lays its eggs on the leaf surface or on the fruit itself and the “larvae disperse and construct silken shelters on the underside of leaves, usually near a midrib or large vein. Older larvae roll together leaves and buds or fruit with webbing. Damage to fruit occurs as surface feeding by the larvae. Larvae will occasionally enter the fruit to feed. Pupation takes place within the larval nests.”
The moth was discovered last summer in Los Osos and Nipomo, according to the Tribune. Thirteen counties in California are considered to have one or more infested areas and are therefore under quarantine: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma.
Residents are asked to avoid moving plants out of the area to prevent the spread of the pest to other locations.
Control methods include: using natural enemies, insecticides and pheromones (to disrupt mating).
For information, contact the SLO County Agriculture Department: 805-781-5910.