The travel log for the European grapevine’s moth (EGVM) first trip to the U.S. is growing rapidly.

The high destructive grape pest can now add Monterey County to its list of six other counties (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Fresno, Merced and Solano) where it was found. The Monterey stop is the first, and definitely unwanted, for the Central Coast wine grape growing region.

The moth was trapped May 10 east of the Soledad state prison between Gonzales and Soledad.

“It is disconcerting that it has reached Monterey so quickly, but probably not surprising,” said Jason Smith, general manager of Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad.

“This pest is scarier than the light brown apple moth (LBAM) because it is a much more crop-destructive pest. Before the recent finds in California since last fall and this spring, there had been no known populations in the state.”

EGVM attacks grape berries in all stages of development, and there can be as many three generations per season.

Monterey is under LBAM quarantine since the state was forced to stop pheromone treatments and the LBAM has spread along California’s coast.

LBAM does not go after the grape bunch like EGVM, Smith noted.

“This is only one moth so far,” said Jason’s father, Richard, and partner in the family vineyard. “Probably rode in on a car with a writer working for some ag publication or maybe a salesman selling new equipment. Being the eternal optimist, I will hope (for the time being) that it was a passenger moth from Napa/Sonoma who just wanted to see the Central Coast wine country.”

The Smiths admit EGVM is no joke.

As much as he and Jason hope it is only a single moth find, they would not be surprised if more are found.

Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen has ordered 400 traps in commercial vineyards within an 80-square mile radius around the discovery.”

More finds can trigger quarantines.

email: hcline@farmpress.com