Strawberry and caneberry growers should be reminded that the CDFA-USDA regulatory program for light brown apple moth is still regnant in Santa Cruz and north Monterey counties this year and we should all be taking steps to reduce numbers of this pest in the production fields. I communicated with Rick McKay, head of the USDA-APHIS regulatory effort for this area, and he assured me the program will be active again in 2013 in the same way it was active last year, at least until September 30.
Pheromone based twist ties are a good way to reduce LBAM numbers in fields, especially in raspberries and blackberries since the ties are attached to the trellis with very little effort and time. The twist ties are still available through the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner at 763-8080. There are still quite a few left, and a quick call to the distributor Pacific Biocontrol Corporation reassured me that these ties, which were received in 2010, are still viable since they are being stored in a cooler and are in their original packaging. These twist ties cost nothing and give growers a good measure of protection against LBAM infestation and the accompanying regulation.
Growers and industry people may find the following website useful for understanding population fluctuations of light brown apple moth (LBAM). The site, maintained by my UCCE colleagues Neal Murray and Steve Tjosvold, is a compilation of trap data at points across Santa Cruz and north Monterey County, and gives a really good sense of where LBAM populations are:
Particularly striking is the surge in numbers of adults trapped over the past few weeks. Important information to know.
Just a real quick note here. Got a useful inquiry yesterday regarding the presence of the moth depicted below in a local berry field.
The moth in question is California oakworm, Phyrganidia californica, the larvae of which feed strictly on oaks. It is harmless to berries. It does seem though this year we have an exceptionally large number of them around and you may be finding them flying around the field or resting on plants, especially if your field is next to oaks.
Additionally, the California oakworm larva (depicted in picture # 2 below), although it would be rare to find one in a berry field, looks nothing like light brown apple moth or any other pestiferous larvae we would commonly expect in caneberries or strawberries.
A few notes for area growers on the current status of several invasive pests:
1. European Grapevine Moth (EGVM): Thanks to efforts of the USDA, the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner and UCCE, the EGVM Technical Working Group has determined that evidence in the literature is scant, contradictory and does not support regulation of Rubus, and therefore recommended that this plant genus no longer be regulated for EGVM.
Once this recommendation is written into the Federal Order (expected to happen in March, but could be later), caneberries will no longer be regulated for EGVM. It is supposed at the level of the California Department of Food and Agriculture that Canada would also then allow caneberry fruit in again without regulation.
2. Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM): Light brown apple moth continues to be a regulated insect in strawberries and caneberries. Therefore, inspections by the USDA of harvested fruit will continue this season, and LBAM positive larval finds at the cooler will result in field inspection and possible closure of at least part of the production field until the infestation has been eliminated. Since a LBAM moth flight generally starts to take place in March, it is strongly recommended that growers start to now put out the pheromone based twist ties available to them from the Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner.
3. Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB): No finds of this pest yet in this area, but there have been several finds in Davis last year and one that I know of personally earlier this year. The positive of this pest not being regulated is unfortunately heavily tempered by the difficulty of its control. While it is by no means destiny that brown marmorated stink bug actually gets here, it is nevertheless good to be alert that the possibility has become greater over the past year.
- Posted By: Mark Bolda
- Written by: Mark Bolda
I had a fruitful meeting with PPQ Supervisor Rick McKay, Inspector Leah Gayagas and currently serving Santa Cruz County Agricultural Commissioner Mary Lou Nicoletti on May 19. This meeting was concerning the current inspection and field closure procedures for light brown apple moth in strawberry and caneberry growers in the quarantine zone which covers all of Santa Cruz county and most of the berry production areas of North Monterey counties.
At the time of the meeting, three raspberry fields and one strawberry fields had been closed because of positive finds, so this matter is of considerable urgency to the berry growing community.
Inspections are to take place for each grower every thirty days, either at the cooler for those sending fruit there, or at the field for those growers who are sending fruit out of the quarantine zone venues such as farmer's markets and fruit stands. In addition to this, it is worth reminding growers who are growing fruit for export out of the USA that county phytosanitary inspections are also being done on every load, and they will forward suspect leafrollers to the USDA PPQ program.
Inspections are being done as before, that is to say that 2% of a designated load are evaluated for leafroller presence. If a leafroller is found in the load- and this means any leafroller species - a hold is put on the load and also on the field from where the load came. If no leafrollers are found, the field is clear for another thirty days. A suspect leafroller gets shipped up to the identification laboratory in Sacramento immediately via FedEx and a positive or negative determination should be available within one or two days of the find. If determined to be positive, the hold on the fruit and field continues, if negative then the hold on the fruit and field is lifted. As noted before however, if the larva is very small or is in the pupal stage, the determination will take longer, maybe up to a week and a half.
Field closure is done after an inspection of the field from where the infested load originated. Size of the closure is not arbitrary, it depends on where the larvae are. If they are in a corner of the field only, then only that corner will be closed. If they are spread evenly through the field, then the whole field will unfortunately be closed. Growers should be aware of the trend of finding more leafrollers along the edges of fields in wooded and riparian areas.
One key point out of this meeting for berry growers and their consultants is that once a hold is put on a field, it must be inspected for light brown apple moth larvae before being released. The date of inspection is negotiable, and it might not necessarily be in one's best interest to have a field inspected immediately, since if there are no larvae found, then the hold on the field is lifted and no regulated spray and subsequent field inspection necessary. So, it would seem a good thing for growers experiencing a load hold and subsequent field hold to get that field cleaned up right away. Arrangements can generally be made for inspectors to come out a few days after a hold is put in place, which would give the grower time to spray a fast acting material like a spinosyn and run a crew through and pick out leaf rolls. By doing all of this effectively, the grower avoids the burden of dealing with the regulated spray (and it's disappointingly short list of allowed chemicals) and follow up inspections. By moving quickly, the grower can avoid all that.
The attachment below is the USDA inspection protocol for fruit inspected at a cooler.