Environmentally friendly techniques for pests in the vineyard
After the long winter, budburst arrives, spring and life return to the vineyard and with it the first flight of Lobesia botrana. And who is Lobesia? Well, simply the European grapevine moth. In spring this moth begins to fly throughout the vineyard and to reproduce. This reproduction preys on the mind of Spanish winegrowers every year at around this time.
The male, attracted by the female, takes wing in a quest to impregnate her before he dies. If we are to continue enjoying Enterizo, one of the wines that we make at Coviñas, we must not allow this fertilization, as it puts our vineyards at risk. After fertilization, the wounds the larvae cause in the grapes when they are born open the door to the dreaded grey mould (Botrytis cinerea).
How do we get rid of this pest?
At Coviñas we rely on sexually confusing of the grapevine moth. This technique makes the male moth believe that there are females all around him when really there aren’t any there. This is done through synthesized pheromone diffusers. It is a method of biotechnological control that eliminates the need for insecticides, making our Enterizo wine environmentally friendly and organic.
The pheromone diffusers (that orange thing in the photo where it is hanging above one of our Bobal vines) constantly emit pheromones, creating a pheromone layer throughout the vineyard that confuses the male moth, since there are no females to be seen. Wondering why? Because he believes that they are everywhere around him but he can’t find her anywhere. This stops the pest in its tracks as the adult male can’t find a female to impregnate.
Some of the benefits of installing pheromone diffusers
These diffusers (they can be either arrowhead-shaped or more like a bracelet) should be put up at the end of the dry pruning of the vineyard and before the male Lobesia botrana takes flight (so, before spring). These are some of the benefits:
– They’re easy and fast to install on both bush and trellised vines.
– They are more effective than any chemical treatment.
– They don’t alter the biological balance of the vineyard and are harmless to local wildlife.
– They have no adverse effects on the health of the grapes.
– And, above all, they improve the quality of the harvest by preventing defects in the wine and winemaking difficulties.
This system is also effective right from the start, with the first generation of moths, but is even more effective with the second and third generations. By the fourth year of treatment, any traces of damage have disappeared.
When installing the diffusers, the following factors need to be borne in mind:
– The area to be protected, in our case about 10,000 hectares.
– The number of plants per hectare.
– The vine training system.
– They produce a denser cloud of pheromones when placed facing southeast, so avoiding the afternoon sun.
At Grupo Coviñas, we have been using this method for controlling the grapevine moth for years, allowing us to continue to make the best wines in Utiel-Requena.