Real Science vs. The Poser

Dilworth’s feelings proven to be not of sound mind.

Dapper Dilworth

Task force members found several points of debate in Dilworth’s presentation.

Steve Shimek, executive director of the Otter Project, said that data show the density of traps required would “make trapping impractical.”

David Headrick, a pest management expert and professor at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, questioned Dilworth’s determination of what makes a successful eradication effort.

During his presentation, Dilworth said state efforts have fallen short in eradicating seven of nine targeted species since 1982. Headrick said that a species can be eradicated and reintroduced at a later date.

Sheri Lee Smith of Forest Health Protection disputed Dilworth’s contention that Hawaii is not concerned about the moth’s presence on the islands.

“To say Hawaii is not concerned about the moth,” Smith said, “would be a mistake.”

Dilworth said he does not know what percentage of a regional population is captured by traps, and so he does not know how many traps would be needed to control the population.

“The only way we’re going to have an idea if it works is if we use traps for a long period of time and don’t catch any moths,” Dilworth said after his presentation.

For instance, the HOPE’s proposal indicates that apple moths fly no more than 30 yards from where they are born.

“We’re not sure where the (20- to 30-yard) figure came from, but suspect it may have come from a (New Zealand) study,” the response said.

In that study, moths were caught at a median distance of 30 meters to 35 meters after being released, the response said.

“As these were median distances, half of the moths flew further, and males were caught up to 600 meters from the release site.”

HOPE also said the moths “do not fly higher than 10 feet above the ground.”

The working group response said “this is simply not true,” saying that apple moths have been trapped about 50 feet high in a New Zealand pine forest.

Dilworth said he acquired this information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The response also shot down a HOPE claim that the sprayings “may have affected monarch butterflies or Smith’s blue butterflies, but not likely target moths.”

The working group response: “We don’t know why this statement is in the document or where it came from. The (Technical Working Group) is not aware of any information on either of these species relative to the LBAM treatments, nor is there anything in the formulations that we would expect to have any effect on these species one way or the other.”

Real Science vs. The Poser