The eggs of a dreaded wine grape pest with the power to spread a destructive vine disease have been discovered and destroyed by vigilant inspectors, Bay City News reported via KRON 4. Eggs laid by the insect, one presumably named by Lewis Carroll and known as the glassy-winged sharpshooter, were discovered in a shipment of 100 large trees from a Southern California nursery according to the Napa County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, marking the second time this year such a discovery has been made. The eggs were classified as viable and belonged to the glassy-winged sharpshooter according to analysis performed in Sacramento at a lab by the Department of Food and Agriculture.
"Glassy-winged sharpshooters are an insect that's pretty widespread in Southern California, and the reason it's a concern is it spreads an incurable disease in grapevines," John Cooledge, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner for Napa County, tells SFist. "We're always looking at plant shipments — we're looking for those all the time."
That disease they spread, known as Pierce's disease, is already present in Napa and Sonoma Counties. But, says Cooledge, these insects are better, more dangerous vectors for it.
Most recently, vineyards battled the European grapevine moth, which was first discovered at the end of 2009. "We've pretty much eradicated that pest," Cooledge says, though he qualifies that the moth is easier to control.
For vineyards and agriculture officials, "awareness is a little heightened. Because of these warmer winters, maybe there's been a larger [glassy-winged sharpshooter] population in Southern California."
But customers don't need to be worried just yet. "If we do find it, the growers will work with us and we'll take care of it," Cooledge says. "If you want to stock up on wine, that's your personal preference."