I was helping the men load the furniture we were donating for Cancer Relief into the Moving Van when I felt something cold against my wrist and lo and behold there was a green cold catepillar there. I had never seen one like this and showed it to my wife. She said, "That's the Australian Light Brown Apple Moth that they are going to spray pheromones for." I said, "Oh." For some reason within a few minutes I also saw a brown moth I hadn't ever seen before and realized that it was an adult Australian brown Apple Moth. Since they were first seen in Alameda County north of us in the early part of 2007 they have spread to 11 California Counties. For some reason I was thinking they were oak moths but no this is an entirely different species that likes most crops and especially grape leaves and apple leaves and has no natural enemies here other than spiders which aren't enough to stop its prolific growth. Likely, if they are not stopped they will likely spread to others states and destroy their crops too.
If you read my first blog on the subject called pheromones you will have some background to the problem. Well, they start spraying 8pm to 5 am over highly populated areas September 9th , 10th and the one that really freaks locals out 9-11-07 September 11th. It is like a bad horror movie called 1984. People are freaking out all over this area. All city councils have voted unanimously against it but California, the state isn't listening. Governor Swartzenegger might go down under the weight of this problem either way it goes.
One of my wife's doctors believes that a new cardiopulmonary disease will be named after the heart lung problems that will result from this spraying over a highly populated area. Even the State says that asthmatics might have to go to the hospital as a direct result of the spraying. It is not just the synthetic pheromone but the stuff that propels it that will cause heart and lung problems for residents with heart and lung problems already. It is also thought that this pheromone might also drive other species extinct like our local variety of monarch butterflies. This won't extinct all monarch's just the ones that come every year to breed here. People whose hotels and tours are based around this should be pretty upset. Other butterflies and moths also will not be able to breed properly because this pheromone is how they find their mates too. Other insects will be affected in unknown ways. In fact, pheromones have never been sprayed over a heavily populated area ever. Aren't we lucky? So the truth is NO ONE knows exactly what will happen. Not only that they plan to spray like this 10 or more times this year at 500 feet elevation with GPS guided planes between 8pm and 5 am. They are telling us to be sure and wash off our cars, houses, outside children's toys etc. etc. so we don't all have to go to the hospital with breathing problems. I'm thinking the cure is worse than the disease. If they keep this up all Counties in California are in for this fun in the next 2 years! Heads up Californians. In 3 years Heads up Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Baja California.
The best article I've read so far on the light brown apple moth is the following:
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