Invasive Pests - Moth threatens Fresno County grape and fruit crops

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Invasive Pests - Moth threatens Fresno County grape and fruit crops


European Grapevine Moth  

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The European Grapevine Moth has been found in Fresno County. The pest lays its eggs in the tiny, newly emerging grape berries. The larvae grow with the grape, eating it from the inside out. Each moth lays dozens of eggs, one on each grape, destroying entire bunches. But while these pests can eventually damage a whole crop, the steps necessary to stop the moth's from spreading cause an immediate problem.

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League said, "Right now the real issue for us is going to be the quarantine area."

Grapes and other fruit crops in the 92 square mile area must be sprayed with additional pesticides, then monitored and inspected before they can be transported or marketed. At least eight hundred growers, along with packers and processors will be impacted. There's also concerned the quarantine will damage the image of all of Fresno County's crop production, and cause foreign buyers to look elsewhere.

"Some foreign states like Mexico may not buy anything from Fresno County right now because it's from the quarantine area in Fresno County, they don't want to deal," said Cunha.

Cunha says only two moths have been found in the affected area so far. Hundreds of traps have been placed to see if there are more moths in the area. Even if none are found the quarantine could last at least a year because of the moth's lifecycle.

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