Our aromatic alley functions as an “insectarium.” Bushes like rosemary, thyme, and lavender, as well as fruit trees such as pomegranate, fig, and cherry, serve as host plants for insects beneficial to our vines.
Insects that provide services to plants are referred to as “beneficials.” There are four types of beneficials:
– Pollinators aid in pollination by transferring pollen from one flower to another.
– Predators consume their prey.
– Parasitoids lay their eggs in other insects, devouring them from the inside.
– Decomposers recycle organic waste.
Conversely, those that are harmful are considered “pests.” There are four types of pests:
– Chewers consume plant material directly.
– Piercing-sucking insects puncture the skin and extract internal fluids.
– Borers and miners tunnel into plant stems, leaves, or fruits.
– Disease vectors transmit viruses to plants.
The larger the populations of beneficial insects, the more effectively they naturally regulate pest populations.
The most beneficial insects for vineyards include:
– Green lacewing larvae: Effective predators, green lacewing larvae consume grapevine moth eggs and leafhopper nymphs. Adult green lacewings are pollinators attracted to the scent and nectar of lavender flowers, which also provide egg-laying sites.
– Ladybug larvae: Also predators, ladybug larvae devour leafhopper and scale insect nymphs. The nectar from rosemary and thyme flowers attracts ladybugs and contributes to their health due to the medicinal properties of these herbs.
– Parasitoid wasps: Parasitoid wasps can be highly effective against scale insect larvae in vineyards.
The most harmful pests for vineyards are:
– Grapevine moth larvae: These nocturnal moth larvae are piercing-sucking insects that puncture grapes and feed on their juices.
– Leafhoppers: Leafhoppers are piercing-sucking insects that transmit viruses while feeding on plant sap.
– Scale insects: Also piercing-sucking insects, scale insects weaken plants by attaching themselves to stems and leaves to feed on sap.
Did You Know?
In its adult stage, the green lacewing is a pollinator. However, each female green lacewing can lay up to 600 eggs. The newly hatched larvae can each devour 12 leafhopper nymphs per day. During their 2 to 3-week larval stage, they can consume a total of 250 leafhoppers. Therefore, the offspring of a single adult female can consume up to 150,000 leafhopper larvae!
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