119: Vine Mealybug 101: Species Identification, Lifecycle, and Scouting to Create an IPM Program

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The first pillar of any successful IPM (Integrated Pest Management Program) is to know the pest you want to manage. Emily Symmes, Entomologist and Technical Field Manager at Suterra, addresses the basics of vine mealybug (VMB) in grapes in this expert from the 2020 Sustainable Ag Expo.

VMB are phloem eaters, piercing the trunk, canes, and berry clusters and vectoring leafroll-associated viruses. In high populations, they will weaken the vines and can cause vine decline and death. Their rapid development time and often overlapping generations make using selective pesticides challenging because multiple lifecycles are active at one time. Adding to the management challenge, VMB spread easily by machinery, workers, and birds.

Proper species identification is vital to understand biologies and seasonal cycles of the VMB. Monitoring should be managed with both pheromone trapping and scouting throughout the year. Pheromone traps are most effective when placed at the vineyard entrance since VMB come in on machinery. Additional traps can be placed in the center of the block. Visual scouting should include looking for active VMB under the bark, in leaves, and in clusters, as well as signs of their existence including honeydew and ants.

Listen in to learn more about VMB identification and management.

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