News Links: Light brown apple moth

The rancor in the state continues over government plans to spray CheckMate, a synthetic moth hormone delivered in plastic ‘microcapsules’ over Bay Area counties come August.

Genevieve Bookwalter reports on the United States Department of Agriculture’s response to the study issued last month by UC Santa Cruz Arboretum Director Daniel Harder. Harder says the light brown apple moth is not so much of a threat to California crops.

Here’s the report.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a new article up today about how the spray impacted people in the Santa Cruz area when it was used there last fall.

You can learn more about the moth and government response to it at a meeting at Berkeley’s Ecology Center on Thursday evening.

And one more: an editorial opposing the rush to spray from the Marin Independent Journal.


  • Donna Kuhn


    thank you so much for your article re. snails, lice etc and for your coverage elsewhere of the lbam situation. i understand you want to have a choice whether to use a toxic or nontoxic product especially when it comes to your home or your son’s head and i applaud your decision to shave rather than poison. for people with asthma or immune-compromised disorders like chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivity, we really can’t choose toxins and poisons ever yet they are all around us and now may fall from the sky for years. i also wanted to point out a sentiment i am hearing from the bay area which is not true and that is that you can just leave your house during the spray for a few days or a week or you can barricade yourself inside and come out a few days later and you will be fine. if you are sensitive to the spray (and this includes shorter reactions of healthy people) you will not be fine.

    we have been sprayed and it is not true. we don’t want you to find out the hard way. i left for 6 days during the spray, came home and had to leave for a month.
    expensive and inconvenient. the product was time-released for 30 days. 3 months later some of us still feel sick and are about to be re-sprayed in 7 weeks. there is no protection in your car and little in your house. they are trying to develop a product to last for 60 or 90 days (read lasts 6 months) so they will not have to spray so often because this “frightens us.” this is only after one spray. they plan to have this stuff in the air year round for 2-10 years.

  • Janis De Lay

    I was raised in Fresno, by a farm implement dealer. I understand the farming concerns, but I live in Pacific Grove now. We were the first sprayed and have been sprayed two times. I have lung damage from Valley Fever and I have asthma, but had not had an attack for more than three years. I became very ill after the spraying, suffering repeated asthma attacks along with flu like symptoms. These attacks began about two hours after hearing the planes over head. My husband had a primary asthma attack, but did not recognize it until the wheeze developed.

    My asthma attacks did not improve. I left for two months, two weeks at a time, but always becoming ill again upon returning. Amazingly, I had no asthma problems while I was away, even the two weeks I spent in FRESNO with my sister. After two months my symptoms were better but not completely gone. There are other ways to control LBAM without spraying people trying to sleep in their homes. I know pheromones are used regularly. They are used in organic farming and I eat organics, but using a chemical and forced to breath it deep into your lungs is not the same thing. I’m all for “using pheromones for insect control” on fields. But I’m not an insect and I don’t have any fields.

    It’s never been sprayed over urban areas until now, and the chemicals are untested chemicals. I hope you don’t have to find out the way we found out on the Monterey Bay.