Napa Asks Small Growers to Bug Out

Sunday, Jul 25, 2010  |  Updated 8:45 AM PDT
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Napa Asks Small Growers to Bug Out

Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri

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Agriculture officials in Napa County are asking recreational and  urban grape growers to strip their vines of fruit this year in order to help  fight the spread of a moth that is threatening the region's valuable crops.

Stripping grapes off vines is being called the most  environmentally friendly way homeowners with a small number of vines can  combat the European Grapevine Moth, an invasive insect first discovered in  the county in late 2009, according to the Agricultural Commissioner's office.

The request does not apply to the vines of Napa County's  grape-growing and winemaking industries, whose livelihood the Ag Commissioner  is trying to protect.

"The entire agricultural and viticultural community in Napa County  is working together to fight this invasive pest," Ag Commissioner Dave  Whitmer said in a prepared statement.

"Vineyard managers, winery viticulturists and Napa County growers  whose livelihoods depend on harvesting their grapes have been treating for  the moth with very selective larvicides and a cutting-edge practice called  mating disrupting, which uses the moth's own pheromone to disrupt the insect  life cycle," Whitmer said.

In addition to stripping fruit, there are organic and non-organic  chemicals that are registered for use on urban vines.

More information on combating the European Grapevine Moth can be  found at www.countyofnapa.org or by calling 1 (866) BUG-SPOT.

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