The star-studded list of invasive species facing California resembles a Hollywood ‘Who’s Who’ list for a red carpet movie premiere: the European grapevine moth, fruit flies, Asian citrus psyllid, and the light brown apple moth.

Today, about 1,700 invasive species threaten California, according to a list compiled by the advisory committee to the Invasive Species Council of California (ISCC). The ISCC is a California state agency council working toward complementary, cost-efficient, environmentally sound, and effective state activities aimed at invasive species.

“California is inundated with invasive pests,” said Robert Leavitt, ISCC executive director and director of Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Sacramento, Calif.

Leavitt says planning, reporting, plus local, state, and national coordination are critical to invasive pest control.

Leavitt discussed invasive species during the 36th annual California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA) Conference in Anaheim, Calif., in October. More than 1,100 pest control advisers and related industry members attended the event.

Invasive species challenge pest control advisers, farmers, and government, education, and industry leaders. Leavitt outlined the ongoing combat against several major invasive species.

European grapevine moth

The CDFA, University of California, USDA, PCAs and others found themselves at war over the last year against the European grapevine moth (EGVM), Lobesia botrana. The first U.S. find of the insect occurred last fall in the Oakville area in Napa County’s wine grape country.

The moths then spread into other counties. Second and third-generation larvae cause severe damage to grapes. The battle this year focused on utilizing integrated pest management (IPM) practices in vineyards.

“The highest priority was given to grape growers with vineyards that lie within 400 meters of a confirmed trapping of EGVM,” Leavitt said.

Treatment coordinators (all licensed PCAs) served as grower liaisons in several counties to manage and monitor grower strategies. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services in California provided $1 million to assist grape growers with IPM practices including “softer” chemical use. NRCS funds from the agency’s environmental quality incentives program helped eligible farmers cover about half the costs of IPM materials.