Oregon has joined California as the only continental states in which a light brown apple moth has been discovered.
A single adult moth was found in a trap, said Bruce Pokarney, director of communications for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. There are no signs, however, of an infestation.
“It was found (over the) summer in one of two traps at a nursery,” he said. “Nothing was found in the other trap, so the suspicion is that it was a hitchhiker that came in on imported nursery stock.”
The nursery, in the central Willamette Valley, is several hundred miles from the closest moth find in California.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture placed 1,000 apple moth traps throughout the state last year. The screening and identification of pests found in the traps can take months, Pokarney said, and the identity of the trapped moth was just recently confirmed.
To be safe, Oregon plans to begin putting up additional traps next month, with a high concentration of traps in and around the nursery where the moth was discovered, Pokarney said.
Oregon nursery stock and all other of the state’s agricultural commodities are not affected by the single moth detection.
“California’s experience shows how important it is to catch these kinds of invaders early on, so it is possible to prevent pests from moving in,” Helmuth Rogg, manager of the state agency’s Insect Pest Prevention and Management Program, said in a news release. “Also, it is much more economic to invest in a good surveillance and early detection system than waiting until a new pest has fully established, and then try to eradicate it.”
The discovery of a single moth catch is no indicator of an established population, he said.
The first light brown apple moth discovered in North America was identified four years ago in northern California. Since then, several thousand of the moths have been trapped, but treatment programs have prevented the pest’s spreading to most of the state’s commercial fields.