Helping Our Peninsula's Environment
How to Control the Light Brown Apple Moth without Aerially Spraying Pesticides

By David Dilworth, HOPE Executive Director

Aerially Spraying Pheromone Pesticides is an Experiment - Reducing LBAM Populations with Sticky Traps is Proven.

There is no successful eradication of a moth by Aerially Spraying a pheromone pesticide. That is because aerial pheromone pesticides spraying is an experiment - it is not a proven technique. 

The effectiveness of aerial spraying of pheromone pesticides is unknown and difficult to prove. The little we know at best, is that it works poorly -- at worst aerial spraying of pheromone pesticides might increase LBAM populations. Its drawbacks include that most of the spray is wasted; never affecting any LBA moths, and it is difficult to tell if the spraying has any effect, positive or negative.

Waste, Drift and Control Area Problems
Pesticide Waste: It is likely that less than 1 percent of the aerial pesticide spray ever affects any LBA moth. For example, in Pacific Grove zero LBA moths were found (none), yet the entire 2 square miles of Pacific Grove was sprayed. In Pacific Grove the spray may have affected Monarch Butterflies, but it is unlikely it affected any LBAM.

Pesticide Drift: On October 24, 2007 a southerly wind was blowing from 5-9 mph at ground level over the Monterey Peninsula during the aerial spraying which reportedly occurred some 500-800 feet above the ground. Since the quickest the spray could reach the ground is at least 20 minutes - most of the spray would have blown a minimum of 1.6 miles North of where it was released. There is no location in Pacific Grove or Monterey more than 2.1 miles from Monterey Bay.

Control Area: Then, the only way to measure any affect is to use Sticky Traps and a control area. But keeping an (inherently nearby) control area free of the aerial spray is virtually impossible.


There is a better way to reduce populations of the LBA Moth; better in every regard including less cost. HOPE has compiled an alternative solution using known effective methods.

To begin, it is important to understand these undisputed facts --

1. All 17,000 LBA moths found in California have been caught with "sticky traps" (Pheromone Baited Sticky Traps). (Well, except one. The first one or two LBA moths were caught with a black light.) 

Sticky traps are the ONLY known effective method of catching and killing the LBA moth. Twist Ties and Aerial Spraying do not catch or kill the LBA moth.
2. In an entire lifetime, the LBA moth flies no  farther than about 100 meters from where it was born, or about the length of a football field.

3. Only a handful of, at last count 6-10, LBA moths have been found on our physical Monterey Peninsula (Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and Carmel) and some 500 moths at the new Seaside Highlands subdivision.

Solution Dramatically More Effective, Safer for People and Wildlife, Easier and Quicker to Implement, Fully Accountable and Cheaper 

* HOPE proposes that Sticky Traps be placed around each of the 500 known locations an LBA moth was found - (and because this apparently is not obvious -- not placed in all those locations were it isn't found).
* Each location is surrounded by four "sticky traps" at four compass points at 30 meters/yards from the caught moth. That would be only a additional 40 traps for out Monterey Peninsula, and about 2,000 more sticky traps is you include the Seaside population.
* If an additional LBA moth is caught, four more traps are placed around that location, and that new location points towards where more moths might live.
But is that enough traps?

CDFA's LBAM Technical Working Group opined favorably on HOPE's more frugal proposal - "That density might possibly be high enough to reduce LBAM populations..."

But then they undermined it with a Catch 22 --

"... although we would not propose that as a recommendation as we don't have enough data to know whether or not such a grid would be effective."

So they won't recommend it because they don't have data,
but they can't get the data until they recommend it. 

Catch 22.

Sticky Traps Already Work - on large Scale
Thankfully, we already know that broad scale targeting of Sticky Traps has worked because Sticky Traps have already reduced California's LBAM population by more than 17,000 moths; that makes it the only method that reduces LBA moth populations with certainty.

So, if you want to catch LBA moths - what's the difference between putting out 1,000 traps (Saturation) and putting out 20 (Targeted) traps?

Since sticky traps cost about five dollars each, the difference in cost in trap cost alone is about $5,000 (gypsy moth density) or $800,000 for Saturation versus a paltry $100 for targeted use of traps. This makes Saturation about 50   to 8,000 times more expensive than Targeted sticky trapping if you find 5 moths in a square mile roughly what occurred here on our Monterey Peninsula in Fall 2007.

Saturation with Sticky traps uses 1,000 sticky traps per square mile (CDFA Technical Working Group density for gypsy moths) or 160,000 (the density California Dept of Food Agriculture uses for Twist Ties.) 

HOPE is proposing the far less expensive version. 
Not the 8,000 times more expensive one.

HOPE is NOT proposing saturation of an entire area with traps.

HOPE is NOT proposing the use of toxic pesticides on the traps - the moths are already killed by the traps - there is no need to "beat a dead moth."

 This is an effective, inexpensive, rapidly deployed dramatically environmentally less harmful solution.

* It does not spray untested chemicals on unwilling or uninformed people, pets and wildlife.
* It does not have spray drift into the National Marine Sanctuary, or our streams.
If this solution had been employed instead of aerial spraying - all 5 moths on our physical Monterey Peninsula and all 500 in Seaside and Marina would have had most, if not all, of their accomplices caught by now.
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This Page Last Updated May 21, 2008