California grape growers are on the lookout for a dangerous pest. Sabrina Hill reports.
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Walt Bently is an entomologist with the UC Cooperative Extension. He spoke recently at the San Joaquin Grape Symposium, about the vine mealybug. He says the bug was discovered in 1998 in Coachella, and found in the Central Valley about two years later. When it was originally discovered in Coachella, it was thought to be the grape mealybug, but Bently says there is a big difference between the two insects.
A Vine mealybug infestation can lead to mold on the grapes and a loss of yields for the growers. It can also lead to a virus called leaf roll virus, which is very damaging to high quality wine grapes. Bently said a key to stopping an infestation is to watch for insect moment during the growing season.