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Moth a worry for US wine region

A new insect pest has arrived in California, which is being seen as a serious threat to the grape crop. The light brown apple moth, a native of Australia, has been found in the Napa Valley as well as nine other counties throughout the state.

This moth, which has never been found in the US before February this year, feeds on more than 250 varieties of plants and, 'It is a significant pest of wine grapes,’ the assistant Napa County agricultural commissioner Greg Clark told the New York Times.

California’s department of food and agriculture has announced eradication plans for Napa to prevent further spread of the pest there. This involves repeated spraying of organic pesticide over small areas of the county, which fall within 200 metres of the moth finds. Crops from all the affected counties, which include Monterey and Santa Cruz, are also being quarantined.

However, the Wine Institute of California in London was playing down the issue. A spokesman told ThirtyFifty that it was a ‘typical Californian reaction’. He said it was a threat rather than a worry and that the grape community haven’t evaluated or quantified the threat.