After 3 years of developing a $89.5 million program to eradicate the invasive light brown apple moth (LBAM) from California, agriculture agencies have admitted that it is no longer possible to eliminate the widespread moth. The main goal now is to "contain, control and suppress" the pest, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced in a report last week.
Likewise, a report released on 15 March by the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains that "given the increases in LBAM population densities and the extent of contiguous spread of LBAM observed over the past 2 years, coupled with a lack of area-wide management tools (aerial application), eradication is no longer feasible in California." But the federal agency will maintain existing quarantines on LBAM. The same tools planned for eradicating the pest can still be applied for suppressing it, CDFA says, but a controversial aerial pheromone spraying strategy won't be used.
The new focus on pest control is what some critics of LBAM eradication, including University of California, Davis, biodemographer James Carey, have been advocating for some time.