This page is about aerial spraying to reduce the moth population in Santa Cruz County. If you are looking for the page concerning the moth itself, see Light Brown Apple Moth.

The area sprayed on November 8 and 9, 2007 The California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) decided in the Fall of 2007 to spray a pheromone over many parts of California, including a large part of the County, and all of the city of Santa Cruz. This was to combat the spread of the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM), which has been deemed by the agency a threat to agriculture as well as native plant species. The decision to spray the public before an Environmental Impact Report had been made was met with extreme controversy. Concerned citizens, especially those with asthma and chemical sensitivities, opposed the spraying for both short and long term health reasons. Others were unhappy with how swiftly the government planned to spray without any real public hearings. Many people, however, trusted the government's statement that the chemicals to be sprayed were safe. The spraying was first scheduled to begin on November 4, 2007, but was canceled due to the weather conditions. After three more flight postponements, the first sprayings were actually executed on the evenings of November 8 and 9 in Santa Cruz County. Between these sprayings, and four nights of spraying in Monterey County, 750 people, showing a variety of physical symptoms, came forth complaining their health had been harmed in some way from the events. The spraying was scheduled to continue for up to two more years, resuming in June of 2008, over an area that would include the entire county, until Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick ruled on April 24, 2008 that the spraying must be halted until an environmental review was conducted by the state. The CDFA planned to appeal that decision, but at that time Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made the decision to temporarily halt all spraying in Northern California until more research had been done. Then, on June 19, state officials announced that their plans to continue the aerial spraying of residential neighborhoods had been completely canceled, and that CheckMate LBAM-F would be sprayed over agricultural or undeveloped areas only. New plans were announced to introduce sterile moths into the local environment in order to erradicate the Light Brown Apple Moth. Locals who had fought for the spraying to end were happy, but were still concerned that the state would spray residential neighborhoods by methods other than aerial spraying, and that they would also be harmful. In 2009 People Against Chemical Trespass was formed, hoping to permanently ban forced pesticide applications on people locally.

For erradication in formation, maps of the area to be sprayed, dates of the spraying, and an email notification sign up, go to:


  • "State stops aerial pesticide spraying over neighborhoods" in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, 6-19-08

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