Definition - What does Pest mean?
There are many different pests and organisms that harm or feed on another species, when it comes to grapevines in vineyards, this must be treated or prevented in order to produce a healthy yield at harvest. Typical pests include insects (adults and larva), birds, deer, raccoons and other animals that gain entry to the vineyard to feed on the grapes. Depending on the type of pest, the viticulturist may utilize one or several methods to eliminate the pest and save the remaining crop.
WineFrog explains Pest
The main concern with pests are the influence or destruction they have on the fruit clusters. There are insects that feed on and infect the root systems, the xylem or vascular tissue and leaves, which can have consequences for the overall health of the plant causing nutrient loss and membrane or shoot disease. Specific pests examples that are problematic for vineyards are:
- Phylloxera insects
- Glassy winged sharpshooters
- Scale insects
- Lobesia botrana or grapevine moths
- Spider mites.
When it comes to vineyard management, pesticides or insecticides used early in the season are helpful in preventing pest infestation, and spot treatments of a specific part of the vineyard can reduce the amount of chemicals used while still protecting the crop. It is important to note that not all insects are pests, some insects actually are predatory to pests, and vineyard managers need to be careful to not eliminate the helpful insects when using insecticides. Some of these predacious insects include:
- Predatory mites
- Spiders specifically
- Big-eyed bugs
- Ladybird beetles
- Mirid bugs
- Mycophagous mites.
Other prevention methods include pheromone release that can confuse the pests and attract them to other motivations like reproduction. For animal pests, some vineyards use higher fences or netting designed with the type of pest in mind and/or repellents like pepper sprays, hot sauce or other oral sprays that discourage ingestion.