The European grapevine moth, which was detected in Napa County in 2009 and threatened crops valued at $5.7 billion, has been eradicated from the state, reported Geoffrey Mohan in the Los Angeles Times.
The reporter gleaned information about and a photo of the moth from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). The article credited ANR as explaining, "The moth's several larval stages damage flowers and the fruit itself throughout the growing season."
UC ANR played a key role in the eradicating the pest from California. A team of UC ANR academics received an award this year for coordinating a program "that saved the wine and table grape industries from economic disaster caused by an invasive insect," said the ANR Report.
ANR's European Grapevine Moth Team includes:
- Walter Bentley – UC Integrated Pest Management entomologist emeritus
- Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County
- Monica Cooper, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Napa County
- Kent Daane, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley
- Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County
- Joyce Strand, IPM academic coordinator emeritus
- Robert Van Steenwyk, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley
- Lucia Varela, UC Cooperative Extension area IPM advisor in the North Coast
- Frank Zalom, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Davis
“Invasive pests are a problem,” said Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. “They threaten California agriculture in general, and probably our ecology too, so it’s important to try to prevent their import into the state, and if they do get here, to detect them early. If you don’t get early detection, your odds of eradication are low.”
Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County, said local citizens also need to understand and comply with rules to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.
“The bottom line is, follow the rules,” Smith said, “because ultimately, the result is pretty dramatic. And who pays the price for that? We pay the price for the enormous effort to eradicate something once it’s here, and/or, we completely lose that industry. We then begin to eat more fruits and vegetables we don’t grow here in California.”
'Two-way learning' embraced
Tim Hearden, Capital Press
Rick Buchner, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Tehama County, was featured as a "Western Innovator" in a Capital Press story published yesterday. In the article, he explained how the UCCE two-way learning model - involving UC academics and farmers - has been successful in solving agricultural problems.
"The beauty of extension is that we all learn together," Buchner said. "The growers know things that I don't, and I hopefully can share things from the university that they don't know. When we work together, it's a pretty powerful team."
The advisors are monitoring the pest's lifecycle, and when it's the optimum time for pesticide treatment, they send e-mail alerts to growers.
Growers then have a 10-day window to treat the vineyard, said the article, written by editor Vicky Boyd. The pesticides Intrepid and Altacor are registered for conventional production; Entrust and Bacillus thuringiensis are available for organic farmers.
A second European grapevine moth control effort in Napa County involves distribution of twist-ties on vines to dispense pheromones that disrupt the pests' mating.
In the San Joaquin Valley, where only a few moths have been trapped, agricultural officials are relying on insecticides alone. UC Integrated Pest Management entomologist Walt Bentley told the reporter that clouds of pheromone would shut down detection traps.
“I’m confident we can eliminate it here in the Central Valley,” Bentley was quoted.
For more information, Boyd directs readers to the UC Integrated Pest Management web page on European grapevine moth.
The European grapevine moth was first detected in the United States in Napa County in 2009. About 1,500 square miles are now under quarantine in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The Napa County agricultural commissioner's request that backyard producers voluntarily cut off the fruit and dispose of it does not apply to commercial grape growers, who have been treating their vines to combat the pest for months under the guidance of experts, including the University of California Cooperative Extension, the story said.
One small-scale winegrape grower told reporter Kerana Todorov he considered the request drastic, but probably necessary.
“I understand the commissioner’s concern is with small, urban patches that are hard to monitor and control. I have around a half-acre vineyard in the county with over 20 rows and over 400 vines, and to lose the fruit would be quite a loss," the story quoted John Intardonato.
At a press conference in Fresno Wednesday, the Natural Resources Conservation Service announced a $1 million cost sharing program to help combat European grapevine moth in California.
The support will cover half the cost of voluntary, environmentally friendly control options, according to the NRCS press release. The pest control strategies, the release said, were developed and approved for use over the past five years by NRCS and the University of California Cooperative Extension. The cost of the treatment is about $208 per acre; NRCS will provide $104 per acre.
"Our intention is to complement the efforts of our partners at CDFA and USDA APHIS who have both the expertise and authority for overseeing infestations of EGVM," NRCS state conservationist Ed Burton is quoted in the release. "We will provide some very targeted Integrated Pest Management tools to farmers who are growing grapes in close vicinity to trapped moths."
Farmers must apply for the funding by June 23.
The Fresno press conference was covered by a number of media outlets, including:
- The Fresno Bee
- KMPH Channel 26 news (Fox affiliate)
- KFSN Channel 30 news (ABC affiliate)
- CBS Channel 47 news
The press conference came a day after USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced it released an additional $1.75 million in Farm Bill funding to stem the spread of European grapevine moth in California.