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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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State traps find no vineyard pests

Associated Press

YAKIMA – The most extensive trapping for certain wine grape pests conducted by the Washington state Department of Agriculture has resulted in a clean bill of health.

The department trapped and took leaf and root samples at a total of 3,186 sites, from the San Juan Islands to the Columbia Gorge but mainly in the Eastern Washington counties of Yakima, Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla. Trapping went from the end of June into September, looking for four species of destructive moths, vine mealy bug and grape phylloxera.

Root samples were taken at 165 of the sites looking for grape phylloxera, an aphidlike pest that attacks grape roots and is considered the most serious grape pest in the world, said Mike Klaus, a WSDA entomologist in Yakima.

“We looked for several species of pests and other diseases and everything was negative except for one old positive site for phylloxera near Wapato,” Klaus said.

It was found at that same site in 1988, and it was surprising more wasn’t found, he said.

A genetic analysis of root samples still is being conducted in Olympia and could show positive for phylloxera, but otherwise it looks like the pest just doesn’t do well in Eastern Washington, he said.

Phylloxera almost wiped out French vineyards in the 1880s and was detected in Washington vineyards in 1988, 1989 and 2002, Klaus said.

But it has never been severe in Washington, and scientists at Washington State University believe it just doesn’t like Eastern Washington’s soils or dry climate, Klaus said.

“We suspect it’s out there at low levels,” he said, “but different grape varieties coming in could be more susceptible, so it’s good to check.”

The four species of destructive moths – European grapevine moth, European grape berry moth, grape tortrix and grapevine tortrix – also were not found, Klaus said.

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