By Bay City News Service
Agriculture officials announced this week that a recent infestation of a destructive moth in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties has prompted a quarantine of 162 square miles of the wine country's agricultural lands.
The European grapevine moth, or Lobesia botrana, was first detected in a trap in Oakville in Napa County on Sept. 15, 2009. The moth's larvae, which emerge in early spring and prey primarily on grape clusters, has since been detected at several sites, most on the city of Napa's eastern side and in an area dense with vineyards between Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
In an effort to stop further spread of the insect, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have imposed a quarantine restricting transport of certain agricultural products and regulating the harvest, shipping and handling of affected crops and plants.
Inspectors are reaching out to growers, landscapers and the agricultural community to make sure the quarantine regulations are understood and abided by.
"I fully understand that quarantines impact both the public and our growers," California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura said in a statement.
"It is important to protect our food supply and the larger environment from these invasive pests so the entire community's cooperation is essential and appreciated," he said.
A grape producer in the Oakville area, where the original moth larvae infestation was first detected, reportedly lost an entire harvest to the pest.
For maps of the quarantined regions and lists of produce and plants falling under quarantine regulations, go to: www.cdfa.ca.gov.