Crop-destroying moth lands in northern part of California's central valley

It's nicknamed the "light brown everything moth," and it's found its way to the Central Valley.

The light brown apple moth, an invasive species native to Australia, was first discovered in California in 2007 -- and that's not good news for farmers, plant lovers or forests.

"It's a pest that feeds on 2,000 different hosts," said Steve Lyle, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, or CDFA.

Those hosts include almonds, corn, peaches and strawberries, along with many ornamental plants and trees, such as poplar, cottonwood, Monterey pine and eucalyptus. The moth has been found mostly in the Bay Area, but last week it was found in Davis, the first time it's turned up in the Central Valley.

"It certainly raises the level of our concern," said David Robinson, agricultural commissioner for Merced County. Robinson's staff will be putting out traps for the moth beginning on May 1.

"This pest could have an impact of more than $100 million in the state, for both nursery and ag products," Robinson said.

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