Jan 19, 2011
Light brown apple moth detected in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed a single detection of Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM), marking the first time the insect pest has been found in the state. However, ODA emphasized there is no evidence that a breeding population of the moth exists in Oregon, and that the insect most likely came in with imported nursery stock.

The single LBAM was found in a trap last summer located in a Polk County nursery. In 2010, ODA placed 1,000 traps for LBAM throughout the state. No other moths were caught in the area or elsewhere in Oregon. The screening and identification of exotic moths from these traps can take months and the suspect specimen has just been confirmed.

"So far, the evidence points to a hitchhiker moth that arrived at the Polk County nursery with plant material shipped into Oregon," says Helmuth Rogg, manager of ODA’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program. "Considering we had two traps at the nursery that were checked twice over the summer, catching only one specimen indicates this is not an established population of the moth. A thousand other LBAM traps across the state were also negative."

The LBAM was first detected in the continental U.S. in 2007 when it was found in California’s Bay Area. LBAM is native to Australia, where it is considered a serious pest in fruit orchards. The detection in Oregon is the first time LBAM has been found in the continental U.S. outside of California. The pest has been established in Hawaii.

To ensure the LBAM detection in Oregon is an isolated incident, ODA will place a high concentration of traps in an around the Polk County nursery starting as early as February, depending on the weather. The pheromone traps are very specific for LBAM and are similar to what ODA uses for gypsy moth detection.

ODA officials emphasize that Oregon nursery stock and all other agricultural commodities are not impacted by the single LBAM detection.

For more information, contact Helmuth Rogg or Dan Hilburn at (503) 986-4636.

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