It is now been more than 10 years that we have been fighting the dreaded vine moth larvae without insecticides (you can read our article of June 24, 2011). The principle behind “mating disruption” (the French translation means literally “sexual confusion”) remains the same, but the tools and methods have evolved.
Let’s first review what mating disruption is: in our case, it’s a process used to protect our vineyards from the Eudémis moth, which is more commonly known as “European grapevine moth”. This insect is one of the most harmful moths for vineyards. The larvae perforate leaves and grapes, which favors the installation of rot (botrytis in particular). Mating disruption is a technique that disturbs the moth’s possibility to reproduce by emitting pheromones (sex hormones of females) in large quantities, so that males are disoriented, and cannot find the females. Less mating, less eggs, less damage.
While strolling through the vineyards, you have surely seen small plastic capsules which diffuse the pheromone. Each spring, we replace 500 capsules of diffusers per hectare of vineyards. Even though they are recyclable, changing all these capsules from one year to the next is not very ecological!
This year we’ve decided to experiment with what we consider to be a much more environmentally friendly alternative with a device called the “Puffer”. The Puffer is a tool made up of a case, an aerosol and a timer. It is installed for a period of 180 days and is then removed and reused the following year. The timer allows you to program the tool to emit pheromones at regular time intervals, in the evening and at night, when the moths are active. Only a few puffers are needed to cover an entire plot. In addition to the need for less labor, their ability to release the pheromones, only during the periods of the day when the moths are active means they apply far lower amounts of pheromones. They also have the added benefit of creating far less waste than capsules. Respectful of the environment and our biodiversity, the Puffer seems perfect for organic farming. Now we’ll be testing how effective a tool it is.
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