Mar 022012
 

Great news out of the state of California this week: that four more counties have been removed from the European Grapevine Moth quarantine.

That may not seem like a big deal to you, but this moth is a deadly pest, and does millions and millions of euros of damage in France, Italy and Spain.  And somehow, probably via some dirty farm equipment or smuggled budwood, it got introduced into the Napa Valley and other parts of California.   With no native natural predators, and a state full of luscious grapevines, the genie got out of the bottle.  We know about this, because we’ve been working with the Napa County Ag Commissioner  on a campaign to beat this thing.

And it’s no joke.  When the full infestations became known, there were hundreds of thousands of these things, and they’d been found in a whole bunch of counties in California.  If you ever hear or see someone who thinks it’s fun or cute to sneak agricultural material into California, you just might want to smack them soundly on the mouth, and then report them to the nearest authority.  That kind of stupidity went out of style a hundred years ago.  And yes, we’re talking about those idiots who bring in “suitcase” clones of budwood.  You know who you are.

But the program to eliminate the EGVM has been stunningly effective.   It’s a result of a combination of the quarantine to limit expansion, pheromones to confuse mating, spraying areas of heavy infestation, grape removal in extreme cases, and a massive trapping program to make sure that we’re getting it done.  And a whole lot of support from the local community, including growers, neighbors, gardeners, and nurserymen.

So far, so good.  And at least in this case, we just might be able to get the genie back inside the bottle.

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