Mite management is a key component of Joey Greenberg’s pest control measures on the 2,000 acres of premium wine grapes he works with in Napa and Sonoma counties. The Willamette and Pacific spider mites in particular threaten vineyard health and production if ignored.
“Simply put, mites remove chlorophyll from plants, stunting their ability to grow,” explains Greenberg. “Pacific spider mites are especially damaging to vineyards because they can actually reduce the sugar concentration in the fruit and reduce vine growth and yields the following year.”
The Willamette spider mite is most common early in the season. A pale yellow mite that prefers the cooler parts of the plant, the Willamette mite lives in the shady parts of the vine.
The Pacific spider mite prefers the hotter, dryer weather later in the season and is usually found in the vine’s warm upper canopy. These mites vary in color from slightly amber to green.
Greenberg uses dust management, natural predators and appropriate chemical applications to successfully manage mites.
Dust Management: “Spraying heavily-traveled roads with water to manage dust helps prevent any mites living on dusty roads from getting stirred up and blown onto plant leaves,” says Greenberg.
Natural Predators:Natural predators—including the western predatory mite—can keep populations of damaging mites in check, reducing the number of chemical applications needed to manage the pests, according to Greenberg.
Chemical Control: “In the early season up until bloom, I use stylet oil and sulfur to lower mite populations and give the vines a chance to outgrow the mite populations,” Greenberg says. “As mite populations get too high for natural predators to keep up with, I’ll apply a miticide like Acramite® to quickly knock down the population without harming beneficial insects.”
Due to its unique chemistry, mode of action and selective nature, Acramite 50WS from Chemtura AgroSolutions is safe to use in conjunction with predatory mites and other beneficials. To review usage rates and the complete list of pests controlled, click here.
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