How to Control Pests on Grapevines Without Pesticides
Grapevines are susceptible to a number of pests. Mites, scales and mealybugs are only a few of the insects that are likely to plague vineyards at one time or another. However, since the grapes on your grapevine will ultimately be consumed, even organic pesticides should be avoided. The first step to controlling pests on grapevines without pesticides is to properly identify them. Most grapevine pests can be controlled without the application of chemicals. Severe infestations should ultimately be combated by altering growing conditions or by replacing existing vines with pest-resistant varieties.
Release predatory insects onto the grapevines. Mealybugs and scale insects can be effectively controlled by releasing ladybird beetles, lacewings or parasitic wasps that feed on these grapevine pests. Mites can be controlled by releasing predatory mite species that prey on the specific variety of mite that is feeding on your grapevine.
Prune infested grapevine canes. Immobile scale insects affix themselves to grapevine canes, while fig longicorn borers burrow into them. Both of these pests can be treated by pruning the infested canes with a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears. Deposit pruned canes into a plastic bag, seal it and then throw it away.
Remove all dead leaves and any litter lying at the base of your grapevines at least three weeks before your grapevines bloom in spring. Certain grapevine pests like grape flea beetles and grape berry moths survive the winter by burrowing into this debris to keep warm. By removing the debris, you can effectively break their reproductive cycle without using chemical pesticides. Deposit any collected litter into a plastic bag, seal it and then throw it away.
Remove large insects by hand. Pests like Japanese and multicolored Asian lady beetles can be picked off by hand. Check for and remove these large pests at least twice a week during the growing season. These pests are least active in the early morning so this is the best time to go after them. Prepare a bucket of soapy water and drop the beetles into the water after you pick them off. When harvesting infested grapes, shake the clusters over the soapy water to dislodge any hiding multicolored Asian lady beetles.
- Pruning shears
- Predatory insects