European Grapevine Moth Could Force Quarantine in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. Action News has learned a quarantine is in the works because the European Grapevine Moth has been detected in Eastern Fresno County.

After finding three of the moths, the agriculture industry is trying to figure out how big of a problem it is, and whether they'll need to take drastic steps to control the problem.

Moth traps are the newest pink accessory along the vast rows of green wine grapes in Fresno County. The traps target the European Grapevine Moth, or EVGM.

The half-inch pest first appeared in the U.S. last year, eating up the expensive wine grapes in Napa Valley.

"One vineyard in particular, nobody knew the moth was there and the farmer lost his whole wine grape crop before they realized the severity of the problem," said grape farmer Kevin Kester.

A 162-square-mile piece of the wine country is now under quarantine. Grapes can still be processed on site, but they can't be transported outside of the quarantine. Fresno County could be next.

Ag officials placed the pink traps near grape fields over the last two months and caught three of the same moths here.

"It could be devastating for the California wine grape industry if this moth were to spread out to the Central Valley and the Central Coast area as well as Sonoma," said Kester. "It could have devastating effects."

Last year, the state's grape harvest was worth $2.74 billion. A major infestation could cost the industry millions. But the moths can also jump to other trees. They'll also eat olives, pomegranates, nectarines and other stone fruits.

The county Ag department's top priority is making sure importers can be confident Valley grapes don't have the moths.

In Napa Valley, quarantine agreements restrict how the grapes are moved to make sure the moths don't move with them.

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