Grape-growers in Santa Clara County are facing a new pest this season—Lobesia botrana, the European grapevine moth. First found in Napa Valley in October 2009, the 7-mm insect can potentially wreak havoc on all vineyards in the state, and has resulted in large swathes of vineyards being quarantined.
In this area, the moth was first found at Jason-Stephens’ Winery in Gilroy. They are now believed to infect a 94-square mile area in Santa Clara County, and agricultural officials are taking drastic measures to ensure that they do not spread. Since the larvae live inside the grapes themselves and feed on the fruit, pest control agents are removing all the grapes from backyard vineyards in the affected areas. The fear is that if the larvae remain there, they will spread to nearby commercial vineyards.
Those latter vineyards are exempt from this, but they are taking their own measures to ensure the safety of their crops. This includes the use of expensive pesticides, which could eventually drive up the price of wine. Stephen Dorcich of the Dorcich Vineyard says that spraying the grapes to eradicate the pest could cost him as much as $15,000 to $20,000.
Read More at ABC 7.
Read More at UC Integrated Pest Management Online.