State agriculture officials have established a 9-square-mile quarantine area for plants and fruit after the discovery of 16 light brown apple moths.

The quarantine covers a large swath of central and east Long Beach, running roughly from downtown east to the Orange County line, and south of Pacific Coast Highway. Residents in those areas are prohibited from moving cut flowers, nursery stock, fruits and vegetables out of the area.

The quarantine applies to residential and public properties as well as plant nurseries, farms and other commercial enterprises, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

The apple moth can infest trees and produce crops.

"State and federal agriculture officials are currently developing sterile-insect technology to combat the infestation," according to the statement.

-- Shelby Grad

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