The Pierce’s Disease Control Program can put another notch in its belt, as the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has officially declared the glassy-winged sharpshooter eradicated from a small area in the city of San Luis Obispo and lifted the quarantine established for the area.
The declaration was made at the request of the San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner, Martin Settevendemie. This was the only population of glassy-winged sharpshooter known to exist in San Luis Obispo County. To date it is the 17th such eradication.
The CDFA declared war on the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which vectors Pierce’s disease in grapes as well as almond leaf scorch, in the late 1990s after it decimated the winegrape industry in Temecula. The grower-funded Pierce’s Disease Advisory Task Force was soon formed. The task force is comprised of county agricultural commissioners, scientists, agricultural representatives, and other experts.
Settevendemie said a breeding population of glassy-winged sharpshooter was discovered in the Arbors neighborhood of San Luis Obispo in 2010. An eradication cannot be declared unless no finds are made of the pest for two years. In response to the detection, the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures, with cooperation from state and federal agencies and local residents, conducted a swift and thorough eradication program to eliminate the pest and prevent its spread to other locations.
Officials established a one-mile quarantine around the find. No vineyards were included, although one nursery entered into a compliance agreement. Officials treated a total of 114 properties with imidacloprid as both a soil treatment and a foliar treatment to knock down any adults or nymphs.
“I am proud of the hard work of my staff and the cooperation we received from the agricultural community and the residential property owners in addressing this issue,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who helped in the success of this project.”
$200 Million Industry
The winegrape industry in San Luis Obispo County accounts for approximately $200 million in gross annual receipts, making it a significant economic driver in the local economy, said Settevendemie. While there were no vineyards within the quarantine, the esteemed Edna Valley American Viticultural Area is just a couple miles downwind of the infestation.
The grower of those vineyards closest to the infestation, George Donati, Pacific Vineyard Company general manager, said he and his colleagues were quick to comply with government officials.
“This is an excellent example of cooperation between the urban and agricultural sectors that led to a positive outcome to help maintain the viability of these beautiful vineyards and our local tourist industry in the most sustainable manner possible,” he said.
Donati said he had visited Temecula, and in part because of that, went above and beyond the standard protocol for testing for the glassy-winged sharpshooter.
“They put a few traps out,” he said, “and we put out a lot more.”