Paso Robles News|Monday, February 17, 2020
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Ag quarantine set up for light brown apple moths 

Light Brown Apple Moth

A light brown apple moth. Image from Wikipedia.

The San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures reports today it has detected three light brown apple moths in the Arroyo Grande area. These moths represent additional detections of this agricultural pest in San Luis Obispo County.

Additional traps have been placed throughout Arroyo Grande to quickly delineate the extent of this infestation. A local quarantine, approximately nine square miles in size, which restricts the movement of certain plants, fruits, vegetables and green waste has been established to prevent the further spread of this pest.

The establishment of a quarantine is a regulatory action taken in conjunction with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the United States Department of Agriculture and the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures. Quarantines specific to the light brown apple moth have previously been established for parts of Cayucos, Morro Bay, Los Osos and Cambria.

The light brown apple moths, native to Australia, can affect hundreds of species of plants including native plants, ornamentals and food crops. The caterpillar stage of this insect can destroy, stunt or deform young seedlings, spoil the appearance of ornamental plants and can injure citrus, grapes and deciduous fruit crops. Currently multiple California counties are under quarantine for the presence of this pest. California is the only known infested area in the continental United States for light brown apple moth.

“My staff continues to work closely with agricultural producers to certify plants and agricultural commodities for movement outside the quarantine areas, and to minimize the impact to local agriculture as much as possible,” said Martin Settevendemie, county agricultural commissioner.

“We urge the public countywide to contact our department at 805-781-5910 before moving plants outside the quarantine area and to purchase plants from local nurseries to help prevent the spread of this pest,” said Settevendemie.

CDFA is the lead agency charged with eradication of quarantine pests statewide. CDFA officials will closely monitor the local situation and assess the potential of any eradication treatments.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.