The California Department of Food and Agriculture says the first “light brown apple moth” (Epiphyas postvittana) to appear in San Diego has been trapped in a Bonsall lemon grove.
According to a press release, residents are being asked to report any sightings of the moth because a quarantine will be triggered if a second one is found.
"Our goal is to determine if there is more than one light brown apple moth in the area," said county agricultural commissioner Robert Atkins. "Hopefully, this is a lone stray."
The apple moth caterpillar damages fruit, vegetables, and trees by feeding on leaves, buds, and shoots. The greatest damage comes from larvae feeding on the fruit, causing brown areas on the fruit's surface.
A native of Australia, the moth has been found throughout California and is suspected of feeding on more than 2000 plants and 250 crops. Hosts include apples, blueberries, peaches, pears, strawberries, grapes, and citrus fruit, cabbage, corn, peppers, and tomatoes. They are also found on oak, willow, poplar, and walnut trees, roses, chrysanthemums, and dahlias.
A meeting for local growers regarding the moth is planned for the week of March 22.