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Light brown apple moth quarantine expanded to Sonoma, Santa Clara counties

New boundaries will quarantine plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables grown in California’s Sonoma and Santa Clara counties due to recent light brown apple moth detections.

A new quarantine of approximately 18 square miles is now established in the Sebastopol area of Sonoma County while an existing quarantine in the Milpitas area of Santa Clara County increases by approximately 64 square miles.

Approximately 2,414 square miles are now under quarantine within California.

State and federal quarantine regulations prohibit the movement of all nursery stock, all cut flowers, and all host fruits and vegetables and plant parts within or from the quarantined area unless it is certified as free from the pest by an agricultural official; is purchased at a retail outlet; or was produced outside the area and is passing through in accordance with accepted safeguards, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Federal regulations apply to host commodities from the entire county if the commodities are moving interstate.

The quarantine applies to residential and public properties as well as plant nurseries, farms, and other commercial enterprises.

Residents are asked to consume fruits and vegetables from yards and gardens in the area rather than removing them from the property. Landscapers and yard maintenance companies will be among the businesses placed under compliance agreements to ensure that yard waste is disposed of properly.

The range of host plants is broad with more than 2,000 plant species known to be susceptible to attack by this pest, and more than 250 crops. It threatens California’s environment including cypress and oak trees by destroying, stunting, or deforming young seedlings and damaging new growth in the forest canopy.

The moth feeds on host plants and damages or spoils the appearance of ornamental plants, citrus, grapes, and deciduous fruit tree crops.

State and federal agriculture officials are currently developing sterile insect technology to combat the infestation.

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