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The vine moth lurking

It is a pest that affects the production and quality of table grapes and for vinification. How to detect the moth to avoid losses.

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The vine moth —Lobesia botrana—, first detected in Argentina in 2010, is the main pest of winemaking, but also may pose a problem for the olive tree. Damage ranges from decreased quality of table grapes to total losses in production.

Marcela González, an entomologist at INTA Mendoza, indicated that, possibly, the exchange of stations, plants, agricultural machinery and even tourism, with affected areas of Chile, favored the entry of the insect into the vineyards of Mendoza.

“ The entry of this moth causes serious damage to the viticulture because it generates a marked decrease in the quality of the grapes for the wounds it produces on the grain and grapes for vinification —causing bad aromas and flavoring—” Gonzalez said.

A study by INTA Mendoza on biology and the insect behavior is key to defining methods and moments for efficient control. By means of the monitoring of the pest could be determined to have three biological cycles per year.

The cycle of life

During the winter the moth remains as pupa or chrysalis under the bark of the strains —plants of grapev—. In September, with rising temperatures, the butterflies and start the first flight.

With spring, butterflies — adults — appear and make the The first laying varies between 50 and 80 eggs. At 6 days, the larvae of the first stage. This first generation only eats flowers so damage is not considered significant.

From this instance the process is repeated: form a silky or chrysalis cocoon, push on the leaves and leave the adults in flight. “The difference,” said the specialist, “is in the damage that produce. In the second generation, females lay eggs on the green fruits and in the third over ripe ones, which causes damage irreversible effects on production.”

Better to prevent

INTA, together with Senasa and the Institute of Health and Agricultural Quality of Mendoza (Iscamen), are working to define and implement preventive measures to prevent the entry and dispersion of pests and diseases.

“ Plant inspection activities were initiated in pupae search. In spring, trap systems will be placed that attract insects to detect the presence of the moth,” said Gonzalez, who also assured that this methodology will allow them to act quickly to stop the advance.

On the other hand, the INTA Mendoza technique recommended producers do not perform applications because the pest is in a dormant state as pupa under the bark, and there is no product that can affect it.

“ It is important that you go through the lots and observe with of the clusters,” Gonzalez said, who also explained that the presence of the plague becomes visible due to the caterpillar emits silk threads between several grains by grouping them, in addition to holes and empty grains.

Source: INTA Info

Publication Date: 05/02/2020

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