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A poisonous moth is wreaking havoc in California vineyards

A poisonous moth has alarmed grape growers in California where a destructive and invasive moth species was recently spotted.

The vine-leaved skeletonizer butterfly was spotted May 12 at a Pope Valley vineyard by insect trapper Jesse Guidi, who told CBS Bay Area of ​​its discovery on Saturday.

Now 25 traps have been set within a one-mile radius of the skeleton’s discovery, after Mr. Guidi alerted Napa County wildlife and agriculture authorities.

The traps will hopefully prevent the metallic blue colored moth, which is an invasive species in this part of the United States, from laying eggs and spreading further into the wine country.

Grape leaf skeletons are native to Florida and the eastern United States and have been known to lay larvae that feed on vine leaves in rows, according to the University of Florida.

During the fourth and fifth instars, skeletonizer larvae exhibit “tufts of long, poisonous black spines that cause skin marks on fieldworkers,” according to the University of California.

When the larvae have finished eating the leaves of a vine plant, they then turn to eating the grapes themselves and have been known to disperse.

A vineyard in California

(Getty Images)

“We don’t want this pest to become established in Napa County,” Napa County Agriculture Commissioner Tracy Cleveland told CBS.

The agency last reported finding a vine-leaved skeletonizer in 2018 near Calistoga, and the invasive moth species has reportedly been seen in California since the 1940s, when it was reportedly introduced into the region from Mexico.

Signs of skeleton larvae are fairly easy to spot, with vine leaves appearing skeletal.

Wines grown in Napa Valley represent 4% of all wines grown in California and less than 1% of all wines globally, according to NapaVinters.

The Independent contacted the Napa Agriculture Commissioner’s Office for comment.

The Independent Gt

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