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Comments:
by RobertWilliams
on April 21, 2011 at 9:48 AM
THE LIGHT BROWN APPLE MOTH (LBAM) IS NO MORE OF A THREAT TO AGRICULTURE THAN THE WIND.  
 
The entomologist who first noticed it, three courts who evaluated it, the state senate committee on agriculture all determined that the moth is a NON-ISSUE to agriculture.  
 
Only the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA), the USDA, and the chemical companies who stood to rob taxpayers of $100 Million per year for unnecessary pesticide contracts are keeping this LBAM propaganda alive.  
 
The quarantines & interference with farming are very real, but they are caused by CDFA, not LBAM.  
 
Professor's press release on CDFA LBAM Program Fraud  
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/10/07/18543314.php  
 
After A.G. Kawamura discredited the CDFA and brought unnecessary conflict between farming and consumers related to LBAM, it is so disappointing that this new woman Secretary would still be beating the LBAM dead horse. Who exactly is CDFA's master? Is it one chemical pesticide company or a consortium?  
 
There is NOT a single documented case of damage from LBAM at any Agriculture commissioner office in the State of California, NONE.  
 
There are millions and millions of LBAM in Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties for six years since they were noticed and about 50 years since they arrived and not a single legitimate incident of crop damage or a single problem - END OF STORY.
by Mark Bolda
on April 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM
Thanks for checking in Robert, I sort of assumed you would be commenting.  
You're not too confident with the pictures and data in the blog I take it. I'll tell you for one thing it wasn't this heavy last year and yes there is reason for concern, hence my posting.  
As to your assertion that LBAM has been here for 50 years, that idea has been batted around the CA entomology community by some pretty heavy hitters for some time, but the scientist who found the first LBAM in California, Dr. Jerry Powell, maintains this is not true. At a seminar concerning LBAM at the Entomological Society of America meeting last December in San Diego attended by some 200 people (you should have been there, it was one of the best scientific seminars I have attended in a long time), he underlined that his trapping program has been going on for decades and is done in targeted, sustained manner. He is not some hobbyist collecting butterflies on sunny afternoons. He really emphasized that he would have found LBAM if it had been here for 50 years. Even so, no doubt there were people in the audience who still disputed the assertion that Dr. Powell found one of the early entrants several years ago, but such is the nature of scientific enquiry.
by Nan Wishner
on April 21, 2011 at 2:28 PM
Dear Mr. Bolda,  
Have the larvae in this berry field been subjected to DNA testing, and, if so, what was the result?  
 
Also, in regard to your response to Mr. Williams above and with great respect for Dr. Powell's expertise, are you aware of the National Academies of Science(NAS)/National Research Council's 2009 report on the LBAM program and in particular their critique of the state and federal survey and trapping program and data for LBAM? NAS concluded the following (the parenthetical references identify the page in USDA's response to LBAM reclassification petitions on which the NAS is commenting):  
 
“‘Routine surveys’ by federal and state agencies at ports and nurseries (Response, p. 5) were not aimed specifically at LBAM before 2005, and the likelihood that LBAM would have been correctly identified is low because of limitations on taxonomic oversight. Similarly, the evidence that ‘specific surveys in the area where LBAM currently exists from the late 1950s to the present did not find this species’ (Response, p. 5) is based on trapping efforts conducted in specific locations in coastal California from 1960 onward that did not include either San Francisco or Santa Cruz, the two ‘hot spots’ from which LBAM appears to be spreading (USDA-APHIS, 2009). Moreover, the reference provided to support this evidence, attributed to Rubinoff and Powell, was not prepared by them, is unpublished, and is not accurately cited (Powell, pers. comm.). Thus, sufficient information is not available to allow a rigorous assessment of the true age of the LBAM invasion in California.” (p. 5)  
 
 
Sincerely,  
Nan Wishner
by Mark Bolda
on April 21, 2011 at 3:52 PM
Hi Nan,  
We field researchers can't do DNA analysis, since that can only be done by the CDFA lab which requires that the source field be identified so a positive means the field gets shut down and we become persona non grata with the grower that we were supposed to be helping. For us, ID is done on morphological characteristics such as number of anal combs, hence the "highly probable" language.  
LBAM is a tough one because of all these issues with identification. That said, in the ten years or so that I've been at this work I've never seen this number of leafrollers around and you see from previous posts and the above that most do morphologically line up as being LBAM. Additionally, the near absence of leafrollers in fields where pheromone based mating disruption is being used properly (which as you know is pretty well specific to LBAM) point in that direction too.  
That we are still operating under regulatory constraint only adds to my concern that growers not be negligent about the current leafroller infestation, which by all appearances is mostly LBAM.
by Tom Kelly
on April 25, 2011 at 10:21 AM
Dear Mr. Bolda,  
 
Re your exchange with Mr. Robert Williams about the time of arrival of LBAM in California:  
 
We now know that the CDFA has a Pest Detection Report (PDR) from 1997 in which they certify having found the Light Brown Apply Moth in California. Nevertheless, in March 2007, i.e. ten (10) years after that documented find by the CDFA, the CDFA declared a State of Emergency claiming that LBAM was first detected in California on February 27, 2007. Is this another "misrepresentation" by the CDFA on the subject of LBAM?  
 
The reason the CDFA was forced to halt its "eradication" program for LBAM was because it was not based on the facts of LBAM's arrival in California nor on the science regarding its potential impact on our crops and native plants.  
 
The heading of "LBAM on the march again Watsonville" on Mr. Bolda's blog is misleading and will doubtless lead some readers to the wrong conclusions about the impact of LBAM vs. native California leafrollers.  
 
In this era of tightened budgets, why does the CDFA continue to penalize farmers with onerous quarantines and throw away tax-payer money on this non-threat to California agriculture?  
 
Jane and Tom Kelly  
Berkeley, CA
by Roy Upton
on May 8, 2011 at 11:01 PM
I am not sure why experienced farmers should be surprised with an increase in leaf rollers. If farms and nurseries in Watsonville operated in the same manner as those in Santa Cruz,they moved to scheduled treatments with hard chemicals like chlorpyrifos, even in the absence of damage, in order to avoid CDFA/USDA quarantines. Kill LBAM and other leafroller predators and you turn them into damaging pests in contrast to the typical relatively benign background insects they would be in healthy agricultural systems. The timing of increasing leafroller populations is very predicatable; we started with high density leafroller populations (LBAM, orange tortrix, etc.) in the Santa Cruz and San Francisco areas with no damage of significance to anything anywhere for almost 25 years. We embarked on a concentrated effort of eradication that included scheduled treatments to prevent quarantines regardless of need, and leafroller predators are actively killed off for 3-4 years. The mortality rate of LBAM, which is typically 99% from egg to emerging moth dramatically decreases. Over the same time period, leafroller populations expand and we find higher than normal densities that predictably will last for 3-6 years after we stop killing off predators. I am not sure why this should be a surprise to anyone, especially agriculture people. More than 100 years of LBAM literature is very clear that killing off its natural predators is the surest way to turn it into a pest. LBAM literature, as with other leafrollers, also show sporadic population increases every 5-6 years, especially during rainy seasons, similar to that experienced this last year in the Santa Cruz area. The literature also shows that these increases in population do not typically correlate with increased damage. Lastly, New Zealand gives us all the LBAM management tools and guidance that are needed. All the information on LBAM management was presented in the LBAM reclassification Petition, the findings were upheld by the National Academy of Sciences, though largely ignored by USDA and we only need to learn from those who have been down the same road as we are on now, the New Zealanders, and stop making LBAM, and likely our other native leafrollers, into destructive pests.
 
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