In the Fall of 2007, a new exotic pest was detected in California, the light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana). These are non-descript light brown, yellowish moths with varying amounts of darker brown, with a wingspan of 5/8 to one inch. Due to concerns that its detection could harm U.S. agriculture exports, parts of California were quarantined by the USDA-APHIS-PPQ for this pest and a 3-year national survey was initiated. No light brown apple moths (LBAM) were detected outside of California. Currently, 13 California counties are considered to have one or more infested areas and are therefore under quarantine. They are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma.
LBAM has been associated with many plants representing 290 genera (USDA 2008) and over 2,000 species. Although many of these species that are not known to be hosts, it does not mean the insect will not feed on them when exposed to LBAM. Some notable trees recorded as hosts are apple, pear, peach, apricot, nectarine, citrus, persimmon, cherry, almond, avocado, oak, willow, walnut, poplar, cottonwood, Monterey pine and eucalyptus. Some common shrub and herbaceous hosts are grape, kiwifruit, strawberry, berries (blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, and raspberry), corn, pepper, tomato, pumpkin, beans, cabbage, carrot, alfalfa, rose, camellia, pittosporum, jasmine, chrysanthemum, clover, lupine and plantain.
One of the pathways for moving LBAM to other parts of the country is via the movement of nursery stock. For this reason, plants shipped from California must be inspected and found free of LBAM.