New and expanded quarantine boundaries are in effect in several California communities due to recent detections of the light brown apple moth (LBAM).

The new boundaries will quarantine plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables grown in some areas of Contra Costa, San Benito, Monterey, San Joaquin, and Solano counties.

Three new quarantine boundaries have been established: approximately 18 square miles in the Manteca area of San Joaquin County – the first quarantine in the San Joaquin Valley; approximately 16 square miles in the Gonzales area of Monterey County; and approximately 15 square miles in the Fairfield area of Solano County.

Two current quarantine areas have been expanded: approximately 12 additional square miles in the Hollister area of San Benito County; and approximately 32 additional square miles in the regulated area of Contra Costa County.

Preparations are also underway for forthcoming quarantines in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles County and in the Los Osos area of San Luis Obispo County due to recent pest detections.

The statewide LBAM infestation has grown in density and range in 2009. This summer the apple moth did considerable damage to berry fields near Watsonville.

More than 110,000 moths have been trapped in California. Approximately 3,473 square miles are now under quarantine in 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.

Additionally, 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.

LBAM is native to Australia and is found in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Hawaii.

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 by destroying, stunting, or deforming young seedlings and damaging new growth in the forest canopy.

The moth also 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.

For more information on the light brown apple moth, visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/lbam.