Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Predators in the vineyard - UPDATE 14/10/2008

The importance of predatory insects in McLaren Vale vineyards is often talked about. Are they a real help? Where high numbers of pests like Mealy bug are present it is unlikely that any beneficial bugs will be able to decrease their amount.

However if the vineyard has a balanced insect ecosystem then predators do the hard work for you.

A Lace Wing ‘junk bug’. Use of many products like Mancozeb decimates the natural predator population in a vineyard.

Predator numbers in your canopy will increase at the start of spring as insects move onto the vines from outside host plants. The weather conditions and what you spray in the vineyard will then change the rate at which the population breeds. Even sulfur at high rates has been shown to have an effect on the lifecycle of lacewings and other beneficial bugs. Predators have trouble surviving summer if certain chemicals are overused.


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