Exotic pests are moving further north into the grape growing areas and officials continue to address the problems very aggressively.

Glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS) is a concern, according to Stefan Parnay, Chief Deputy Ag Commissioner in Sonoma County.

“We had two finds in 2007, but none so far this year,” Parnay says. “However, it’s still a serious concern. There are no silver bullets for it.”

One of the problems is the insect is often confused with cicada, especially among the general public. That makes identification tricky. So far the insect has only been found on incoming plants.

“It’s not been found in native plants so far,” Parnay says. “The incoming plants where it was found were sent back to the county of origin.”

The Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) is also a continuing cause for concern in Sonoma County, according to Parnay. “It’s critical that we continue to have a strong detection program for that pest. If it escapes into permanent crops, it could be very devastating. Early detection is the key.”