There’s an article in today’s Bee about light brown apple moth (LBAM) monitoring at Green Acres Nursery in Roseville. Apparently, they receive plants from a Bay Area wholesaler deep in the quarantine area. I’ll bet a lot of our local nurseries do.
The article emphasizes that the main concern is not about the potential damage to California plants, but about economic losses in quarantined regions. The San Francisco Bay Area is currently under a Federal Domestic Quarantine Order. Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada Foothills could be next.
If the moth starts showing up in local nurseries, they will face quarantines, which will force them to spray… at first with Neem oil, then with nastier chlorpyrifos if the invasion becomes an infestation. And until they pass agricultural inspection, nurseries presumably won’t be able to ship plants.
As a gardener, it begs the question “What if I do a little shopping in the Bay Area and bring my LBAM-laden plants home to Sacramento? Wouldn’t that do a disservice to local nurseries trying to prevent LBAM from invading?” Hmmm…
Should we become familiar with all stages of the moth and get ready with the Neem oil if we see it on our plants? Should we ask Bay Area nurseries if they’re monitoring for LBAM? Or should we leave the problem to natural enemies of the LBAM, which include the following:
- Trichogramma wasps.
- Parasitic wasps Dolichogenidea arisanus and Xanthopimpla spp.
- Parasitic flies Goniozus spp. and Zosteromyia spp.
- Predatory bug Ochalia shellembergii
- Various pathogens
The California Department of Food & Agriculture has put out a nice brochure on the LBAM showing pupal, caterpillar and adult stages and urges you to call 1-800-491-1899 if you discover signs of damage or the insect itself.