County mostly out from moth quarantine
THE QUARANTINE FROM the European grapevine moth has been lifted across Sonoma County, except for a small slice of Sonoma Valley.
Courtesy of CDFA
Listen closely, and you may be able to hear the chorus of grape growers across Sonoma County singing “Ding, dong the moth is gone.”
Sonoma County’s quarantine, due to the European grapevine moth, which has been in place for two years, will be lifted by March, except for a small sliver of Sonoma Valley along the Napa County line.
The pest was first detected in Napa in 2009, where it decimated a vineyard, sparking state and federal quarantines to prevent the moth from infesting the rest of California. In Napa, the infestation spread rapidly as the population ballooned to more than 100,000 moths detected in 2010.
That same year, 59 moths were detected in Sonoma County, including several within the Valley, which caused California Department of Food and Agriculture officials to extend the quarantine to cover all of Sonoma County. Even though no European grapevine moths were found in Sonoma County in 2012, the Valley is still within three miles of the continued infestation in Napa, meaning the quarantine along the county line will stay in place for the foreseeable future.
Under the quarantine, grape growers must submit to regular inspections and follow specific transport guidelines before they may move their products in and out of the quarantined area. During the two years, growers admitted it was an inconvenience, but a small price to pay to eradicate the destructive pest.
The quarantines and eradication plans proved immediately effective at combating the invasive pest. Anytime a moth was found, the area within 500 meters of that vineyard was treated with pesticides to eliminate the pest. By 2012, only 77 moths were discovered in traps in Napa County, a significant decrease in just two years.
“This program is a model of how industry and government officials can coordinate detection, treatment and regulatory action to deal with a serious agriculture pest,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary Rebecca Blue in a written statement. “The cooperating agencies and industry achievements to date encourage us all to complete the task of eradication of European grapevine moth in California.”
In addition to much of Sonoma County, the quarantine will also be lifted in Santa Cruz, Nevada and Santa Clara counties by March 8. To be released from quarantine, an area must be free from the moths for at least three lifecycles. That means, depending on how the infestation goes in Napa, Sonoma could be out from under the quarantine by the start of this year’s harvest season.
Sonoma Valley remains under quarantine from the light brown apple moth, which was first detected in Sonoma in 2007.
Even though state and county agriculture officials agree eradication is no longer feasible, the quarantines persist into the sixth year, bringing additional regulation to Sonoma County grape growers, nurseries, farmers and other agriculture producers.