Agriculture

Grapevine moth found in Merced County

The Merced County Agriculture Commissioner said it's found three European grapevine moths in the county, in a Snelling vineyard.

David Robinson, ag commissioner, said this is the first discovery of the moth in the county.

"The moths were found in one vineyard, and the grower has already taken steps to spray for the pest," Robinson said.

The larvae of the European grapevine moth feed on grape flowers and developing fruit, and later generations of the moth will feed on the grape berries themselves. That can cause the grapes to get infested with mold or fungus.

The first moth was found Monday, and was positively identified Wednesday, Robinson said. "The state and federal governments are working to develop a quarantine for that area of the county."

Robinson said the quarantine means farm commodities grown in the area where the moth was found that may be a host to the moth will be put under a compliance agreement to ensure the pest isn't moved out of the area where it was found.

Robinson said the moth was first found in California in 2009, in the Napa area. Since that time, the moth has been found in Sonoma, Solano, Mendocino and Fresno counties.

Because of the find, the county has put out more than 400 traps, and treatment options are being looked at.

For more information on the European grapevine moth or to report a sighting, call the ag commissioner's office (209) 385-7431.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or creiter@mercedsun-star.com.

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