We recently received final LBAM counts for the first half of 2009 and compared the number of confirmed findings so far this year with counts at the halfway point last year. The numbers are astonishing, even to those of us who have been tracking the pest for some time now.
From May 2008 to May 2009, the number of square miles where LBAM is found in California has nearly doubled—from 509 square miles to 980 square miles. The number of square miles in California under quarantine grew from 1,860 square miles in May 2008 to 2,922 square miles in May 2009, an increase of more than 1,000 square miles.
Population numbers for the first half of 2009 are rivaling and even exceeding the number found in some areas in all of 2008. LBAM is being found in new counties (such as San Joaquin, Ventura and Yolo Counties) and the LBAM population is rapidly increasing in counties where it is already established.
For example, in Alameda County, 10,277 LBAMs have been found in the first half of 2009, compared to 1,528 found in all of 2008. That’s a more than 600 percent increase. In Contra Costa County, the number has more than doubled, from 1,283 in 2008 to 2,888 so far in 2009. And in Marin County, the number has quadrupled: from 927 in 2008 to 3,825 so far in 2009.
And in other areas, the mid-year numbers have already exceeded 2008 totals—with another six months left to go this year. For example, in Santa Cruz County, there were 15,439 LBAM finds in all of 2008…and there have been 18,287 LBAM finds in the first half of 2009. San Francisco County numbers are similar, with 16,001 LBAM finds in 2008 and 24,136 LBAM finds in the first half of 2009.
This certainly shows that LBAM is here and it is hungry! We’ll talk in future posts about different management methods, so check back soon.
California State Plant Health Director
United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service