The Santa Cruz [California] Superior Court has denied a request to issue a temporary restraining order against next week's aerial pheromone treatment of the Santa Cruz area to combat the light brown apple moth infestation. The request had been filed by Santa Cruz County. 

Treatment will proceed as scheduled, Nov. 4-9.

Some residents in the treated area had complained of headaches and stomachaches after the last spraying.

The eradication program involves spraying CheckMate LBAM-F, a synthetic moth pheromone, over the area. The chemical mimics the scent emitted by female apple moths. The males become confused and can find a female with which to mate. If the female doesn't mate, she won't lay eggs.

The planned aerial pheromone treatment in the Prunedale/Royal Oaks area of northern Monterey County will be reduced to 22.35 square miles, down from the originally planned 39.61 square-mile treatment.  The reduced area will be treated as scheduled November 4-9. Two other treatment areas have not changed and will also be sprayed as planned Nov. 4-9:  the 41.5-square-mile North Santa Cruz zone (including Aptos, Soquel, Capitola, Live Oak and Santa Cruz), and the 15.5-square-mile North Salinas/Boronda zone. The reduction of the Prunedale/Royal Oaks zone removes an area at the northern end of the originally proposed treatment zone.  A map indicating the updated treatment area is available on the CDFA web site:

Residents of the area that is being removed from the treatment zone will receive a postcard informing them of the change.  This area is now slated to be treated along with other areas in the region in spring 2008.

The reduction in the Prunedale treatment area is due to a reduced availability of the pheromone product Checkmate LBAM-F.

On the evenings of applications, CDFA has arranged to send an e-mail to subscribers announcing intended areas of treatment, weather permitting. And on mornings following treatment, CDFA intends to e-mail subscribers with results of the just-completed application. E-mails will include a link to a map showing progress.

Those interested in receiving e-mail updates may sign up at:

The pheromone, an odorless material called Checkmate LBAM-F, has been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

The light brown apple moth, a native of Austrlia, is of particular concern because it can damage a wide range of crops, including grapes, citrus and stone fruit. As of Oct. 1, 10,445 moths have been trapped in 12 California counties. The bulk—7,964—have been found in Santa Cruz County.

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