Light Brown Apple Moth - San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner's Office is asking residents within the county to help prevent the spread of this serious agricultural pest by not moving plants, flowers, fruits or vegetables out of the three-county quarantine area of San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Residents may move home-grown plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables within the three counties; however, plants and produce with small holes or leaf material with signs of feeding damage caused by caterpillars should not be moved. Green waste, such as plant clippings and leaves, should be placed in recycling containers or composted on site.

Food bank organizations may accept and transport fruits and vegetables grown by homeowners without inspection as long as the product is distributed within San Mateo County, Santa Cruz County or San Francisco County.


Todd M. Gilligan and Marc E. Epstein, TortAI: Tortricids of Agricultural Importance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) is a small moth, approximately 1/4 inch in length, and is generally tan with some darker markings. It is originally from Australia and has also infested New Zealand, New Caledonia, Hawaii and the British Isles. It feeds on such a wide variety of plants that it is considered a significant threat to the environment as well as to agricultural crops.

Image: Todd M. Gilligan and Marc E. Epstein, TortAI: Tortricids of Agricultural Importance, USDA APHIS PPQ, Bugwood.org 


Eradication Treatments in San Mateo County

The California Department of Food and Agriculture no longer plans to utilize aerial pheromone treatments as a tool to eradicate LBAM in the urban areas of northern San Mateo County.  Instead, CDFA will be using an alternative eradication tool known as Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in which large numbers of sterilized, infertile insects are released so that wild populations cannot reproduce.  There is no risk of crop or landscape damage from the release of sterile adult moths because only the caterpillars feed on plants.  Sterile moths are expected to be available for release in early 2009 on a limited basis. 

San Mateo County LBAM Quarantine Area Maps and Treatment Areas

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