I've spent the past few days researching the light brown apple moth, an insect that has recently appeared in the Bay Area. It is native to Southeast Australia, and has escaped to New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, and Hawaii. Now a number of them have been found here in California. There is a map on the California Department of Food and Agriculture site showing where they have been found. It's at: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/Map_of_LBAM_Detections.pdf
The Chronicle had an article about the pest in the Business Section on Thursday, April 5th, and will be running more stories in the Home Section. I have written an article for the Chronicle about the biology of the pest; Ron Sullivan and Joel Eaton will be reporting on the steps being taken to contain it. Look for at least one of these stories on Saturday, April 14th--and part of the matter might be carried forward to Wednesday, April 18th.
It is a tiny moth, with a small caterpillar that is mostly a leafroller. That is, it rolls itself up in the leaf to feed. One important fact to know abot it is that it eats over 200 kinds of plants, so once we had it, it would be almost impossible to get rid of. Another is that it damages grapes, including the fruits, when it gets them tied up in its webbing early in the season. Another is that some of California's trading partners would demand special treatment of crops for export, and others might refuse to trade with California. You can see why the California Department of Food and Agriculture wants to keep it out of the state's agricultural areas, or, preferably send it packing out of the state.
Watch for quarantine information. It is important not to carry the pest accidentally into uninfested areas. It can live on a number of garden flowers and vegetables, so expect some upcoming crimps in your usual gardener's generosity. You know, the "Here, take a bouquet home with you. And would you like some Swiss chard."
Stay tuned to learn more about this invading pest.