sterile moths should prevent the need to spray a
pheromone pesticide in Marin and other urban areas to
rid the region of the light brown apple moth, state
Assemblyman Jared Huffman said Thursday.
"It's a sterile moth and the state thought it was two
to three years away as an option, but they have been
able to ramp it up," said Huffman, D-San Rafael.
State agriculture officials were scheduled to
formally announced the development in a press conference
Already, 20,000 of the moths have been produced in
Albany as a joint project by the state Department of
Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The
moths would be released in early 2009 to mix with the
general light brown apple moth population and reduce the
"It appears that spraying over urban areas is now off
the table," Huffman said.
The light brown apple moth, which grows no bigger
than a quarter of an inch, is the source of huge
controversy. The state has declared an emergency and has
plans for aerial spraying this summer over Bay Area
counties, including Marin, in an attempt to get rid of
The moth is opportunistic, devours many plant species
and threatens California's agricultural industry.
The planned action - to spray a synthetic pheromone
intended to confuse the male moth by mimicking the
mating scent - has prompted outrage from residents and
lawmakers, who worry about health impacts.
Contact Mark Prado via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org