The Riverside Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a contract between the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and the California Department of Food & Agriculture for countywide monitoring of fruits and vegetables to identify potential light brown apple moth infestations.
The $7,600 contract, which the board signed off on without comment, is a continuation of an agreement from the previous fiscal year and will expire on June 30, 2020.
Under the terms, county agricultural inspectors are required to set up light brown apple moth traps and monitor them to detect whether and where the invasive pest might be a threat.
Twenty-two California counties are under a federal quarantine, restricting shipments of certain fruits, vegetables and flowers, because of the moths. No Inland Empire counties are included in that quarantine, which first went into effect in the summer of 2007, initially only impacting Northern California.
The UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research is among the entities working on strategies to eliminate the moths, which are notorious for damaging alfalfa, avocado, bean, grape, clover, rose and berry crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The pests, which are about one-third of an inch in length and originated from Australia, go after nursery stock and fresh produce, destroying vines and leaves.
According to a county statement, the agricultural commissioner’s monitoring program will ensure the moths are “prevented from entering and becoming established within the county. This will result in continued export commerce for our agricultural industry, reduced pest control efforts and costs, and therefore an increase in quality of life.”
More information about the moths is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/lbam/lbam.
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