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June 19, 2014     The Quincy Valley Post-Register
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:. THE QUINCY VALLEY 8 AGRICULTURE L T,uRSDAY, JUN00,9, 2o,, Post-RecjTster Traps set around state to protect grapes from moths Staff report Grape-eating moths beware. The Washington State Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture are teaming up to set up traps in wine-grape growing regions throughout the state to search for four species of destructive moths. The moths are the European Grapevine Moth, European Grape Berry Moth, Grape Tortrix and Grapevine Tortrix. Up to 1,000 traps are being placed this month for each of the four moth species around the state, between late May and July, said Mike Klaus, WSDA entomologist and survey coordinator for Eastern Washington. Traps will be placed in most of the 13 major wine grape growing regions. Trappers will focus on vineyards and also will target backyard grape vines near potential pathways of pest in- troduction. Klaus said the traps will be checked every two-to-four weeks during the summer and then taken down in September. Similar WSDA surveys conducted the past two years yielded no detec- tion of the pests. "Our trappers will have state identification and welcome any questions landowners may have," Klaus said. "We'll be trap- ping from the San Juan Islands to the Columbia Gorge to Okan- ogan, but our emphasis will be in Yakima, Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties." The European grapevine moth was found for the first time in the United States in 2009 in Napa Valley, a serious threat to Califomia's wine industry. After its initial detection in Napa Valley, the pest has been found in several other counties. Some Califomia growing regions are under quarantine. In 2013, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released $16.9 million in emergency funding to prevent the spread of European grapevine moth in the Golden State. If any of the four species of targeted moths are found in Washington this summer, state agriculture officials may place more traps in the area in an attempt to find the center of the infestation. Klaus emphasized that none of the moth species have been detected in Washington. "The goal of the survey is to protect Washington's grape industry by preventing the establishment of these invasive moths," he said. "We want to detect them as early as possible if any do arrive. If any of these grape pests were to become established here, they could pose a serious threat to our grape and wine industries." WSDA will also resume a limited survey for grape phylloxe- ra, an aphid-like pest that attacks grape roots. Washington State University and WSDA have detected grape phylloxera at a few locations in Eastem Washington vineyards and backyard grape plantings back in as recently as 2002. Grape phylloxera is considered to be the most serious grape pest worldwide, especially on vinifera grapes. California growers have experienced significant losses, sometimes requir- ing the removal and replanting of entire vineyards. WSDA has cooperated with WSU several times over the last 25 years in survey for grape phylloxera. However, in Washing- ton, official surveys for the pest have not been conducted since 2002. The control of grape phylloxera is costly and is only achieved after many pesticide applications over several years. Planting resistant rootstocks has been the primary control measure. However, new biotypes in California are known to attack previously resistant rootstocks. Washington vineyards may be vulnerable since they are planted on their own nonre- sistant roots. In the mid-1990s, a new lest of grapes, the vine mealybug, was found in California. WSU entomologist, Dr. Doug Walsh, has been conducting l'.lmited survey for vine mealybug along with research on another established mealybug species, the grape mealybug. To date, vine mealybug has not been detected in Washington. WSDA has a quarantine in effect for both grape phylloxera and vine mealybug to prevent these threats, to the Washington state grape and wine industry, from spreading.