Farm lands and homes around Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma and Agua Caliente will come under quarantine due to the discovery of the invasive light brown apple month, Sonoma County agriculture officials said Tuesday.
The quarantine near Agua Caliente and Boyes Hot Springs will encompass 14 square miles, Steve Lyle, a spokesman for the state Department of Food and Agriculture, said Tuesday evening.
Some of that land was under a previous apple moth quarantine last year. The land now will become part of a quarantine boundary that extends east through Napa to near Benicia.
Land near Rohnert Park and Cotati also will be included in a Sebastopol quarantine area, Lyle said. The total area now will encompass 31 square miles.
Officials have yet to release new maps for those quarantine areas.
The state also has yet to fix boundaries near Petaluma where land there also will come under quarantine, county and state officials said.
Moths were found in the three areas between April 8 and April 17, Lyle said.
County growers already face quarantines in Sebastopol, Healdsburg and the Carneros region south of Sonoma.
Under the quarantine, growers must have their crops inspected before transporting them to market. Residents within the quarantine boundaries are prohibited from taking vegetation off their properties, except in yard waste containers.
The apple moth, an insect originally from Australia, was first confirmed in California two years ago. The federal government has allocated $75 million to fight the pest, which officials maintain can attack more than 250 crops and such native species as cypress and oak trees.
The larvae damage fruit by feeding on the plant surface. The moth also can deform young oak and cypress seedlings and damage new growth in forest canopies.
The county now has detected at least 30 moths, said Stefan Parnay, a chief deputy agricultural commissioner. About a half dozen of those moths were trapped within the past three weeks,
Farm representatives have noted that the increase in moths is happening around the Bay Area. Marin County reported finding 200 moths in a two-week period ending April 24. During that same period San Francisco reported capturing 816 new moths.
Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Wine Grape Commission, said of the latest finds, ?I think there?s nothing surprising, just discouraging.?
The county next month will hold four meetings with affected grape growers.
?We?re trying to do the outreach now before the growing season so the growers will know what they have to do,? said Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville.
Growers who agree to follow certain management practices ?will have less intense inspections,? she said.
Parnay said the agriculture officials will assure the farmers they can conduct the harvest inspections in a timely manner. ?We?re not going to leave growers in the lurch,? he said.