While in the US on a study tour in September, Vinehealth Australia Technical Manager Suzanne McLoughlin met with University of California Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors to discuss efforts in controlling, containing and ultimately eradicating Lobesia botrana – European grapevine moth.

A collaborative approach to eradicating this exotic pest earnt program leaders a federal Administrator’s Award in September 2012. What can we in Australia learn from this?

Some of the major lessons learned in the US included:

  • When faced with an incursion, the first thing to assess is whether it’s even possible to eradicate, based on money, time, resources available and pest host range. The ease and success of an eradication effort is far more likely for an insect with a limited host range.
  • Effective control measures must be available for use.
  • All participants in an eradication effort need to be on board.
  • Learn from previous eradication efforts around the world.
  • Having extension staff as part of the Technical Working Group playing an impartial role between the regulators, researchers and growers was important to ensure the needs of all parties were met when devising the eradication strategy.
  • Permitting researchers to undertake research concurrently while rolling out the eradication strategy hastened learnings and practical solutions.
  • Ensuring research funding bodies were at the table from the start meant research priorities were identified and appropriately funded.
  • Availability of a continual funding source at the required level for the life of the eradication strategy allowed the strategy to be fully implemented, contributing greatly to the result.
  • A single, unified message to industry and community is vital to ensure no confusion of message.
  • Transparency and honesty is key – distrust takes a long time to repair.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Stakeholder networks must assist in communicating messages. This will be the fastest way to reach everyone.
  • Communication to industry personnel must continue post eradication, to ensure recognition of the pest, so that any new outbreaks are rapidly identified.

To read the full article ‘Best practice eradication: Learnings from the European grapevine moth eradication efforts in Napa, California’ click here.

European Grapevine Moth (Lobesia botrana) mature larva out of its nest on a cluster of damaged Merlot grape berries. Photo by Jack K. Clark.