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Long Beach Apple Moth?

August 19, 2009 |  7:12 pm

Applemoth Parts of Long Beach are the latest to face state-imposed quarantines following the detection of the light brown apple moth on plants in the area. The controversial quarantines have reportedly caused millions in losses at nurseries and farms where the creature has been detected.

The quarantine prohibits people from moving flowers or fruit plants outside of the 9-square-mile area stretching from central to east Long Beach.

In its larval phase, the light brown apple moth chows down on leaves and fruit, sometimes rendering them inedible to humans. The state plans to continue trying to eradicate the moth despite vocal opposition from scientists, lawyers and activists who say such efforts are unnecessary.

About 3,500 square miles of land in California are under quarantine in 15 counties, including Los Angeles. Eradiction methods under consideration for the moth include sterilizing male moths and dispersing a pheromone to confuse moths searching for mates.

-- Amy Littlefield

Photo: The invasive light brown apple moth in its adult phase. Credit: Spencer Weiner/California Department of Food and Agriculture; used with permission.