The moth of the vine or Lobesia botrana

Against Lobesia Botrana all forms of struggle are valid, the most effective has been a strategy that combines a pheromone that generates sexual confusion and the use of insecticides.

Although today it is a manageable plague, no one lets their guard down. The cost associated with the management and control of the pest is estimated at USD $ 300 to 400 per hectare each season, avoiding potential losses of more than 40% of the crops. In 2011 Argentina declared a “phytosanitary emergency” as a measure to prevent the Vine Moth from reaching Patagonia, coming from Mendoza. In addition to direct damage, this pest generates indirect damage related to the restriction and even the closure of some markets, regulations and quarantine treatments of crops.

What is the Cluster Moth of the Vine or Lobesia Botrana?

It is a butterfly or moth (Lepidoptera) of the Tortricida family, whose larvae live in the clusters, joining silk threads to the flower buds and forming buds in the leaves or barks. The moth feeds mainly on the vine becoming a key pest in all places where vine is grown.

According to the climatic conditions it can have from two to four generations a year; Like other moths, it is crepuscular habits. In the regions where the pest is present, the first generation of the season attacks the flower groups (inflorescences). Subsequent generations, which depending on the area may be two or three more, cause damage to the grapes in formation or grains.

In South America it was a plague absent until April of 2008, when the Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero de Chile (SAG) declared its presence. As reported by the SAG, it is distributed mainly in the Metropolitan, O'Higgins and Maule regions, which correspond latitudinally with the provinces of San Juan and Mendoza in Argentina.

What are the symptoms of infested crops?

Attacks only the cluster. In the preflore period (bunch elongation), the larva forms glomeruli with the flowers, produces cloth and feeds on the substrate. Post curd the larva perforates the berry and feeds on the inner contents. In pre-pint and pre-harvest, perforation is greater, dehydration is observed and usually rot caused by the fungus of the genus Botrytis.

The most visible symptoms are the twisted leaves, the fruits and the flowers united by silk threads, the pupae in leaves or barks and fruit rot.

In table grapes it produces quality loss and in grapes for wine it can leave fungal residues that cause aromas and flavors in wines and technical problems for clarification.

What biological, physical and environmental factors facilitate the spread of the pest?

The main form of dispersion of the pest is through the transfer of infested fruit. In addition, the dispersion to free zones of the pest has been confirmed through tutors, infested plants that have been removed or even harvesting machinery; also through harvest materials (boxes, bins, etc.).

The dispersion through adults is not so important since in general do not fly distances greater than 80 meters. The isolated vine plants that exist outside the productive units (in private homes for example) represent a very important source of infestation and subsequent dispersal of the pest.

What preventive measures can be taken to avoid this plague?

Maintain a permanent surveillance through detection pheromone traps, in order to act in a timely and effective manner.

It is also essential to properly disinfect fruit, stakes, machinery or harvesting elements and other propagation materials that come from an area where the pest is present.

What control mechanisms exist to control the appearance of the pest and / or eradicate it from the crop? (Cultural, Mechanical and Chemical Control)

The most efficient way of control is through the technique of sexual confusion complemented by a program of applications of insecticides for each of the generations of the plague.

In Chile, two applications of insecticides directed to the first generation are carried out, and an additional application for each of the following generations.

As cultural control measures we can highlight the removal of bunches that remain in the place after harvest. In extreme situations with high infestation and as a measure for the eradication of the pest, it is possible to remove the loose bark of the plants (detolar) in winter to reduce the population of wintering pupae and then complement with an application of insecticide directed to the trunk and arms of the plant.

The removed bark must not be left free and it must be destroyed or incorporated, since the pupae could be exposed.

What innovations and technologies has the industry developed to protect crops from this pest?

The Crop Science Industry has developed different technologies in increasingly effective products for the control of the Moth of the Vine or Lobesia Botrana. According to the cycle or generation of the pest, the technologies for the protection of crops offer several innovations that:

- Control eggs, larvae and reduce the fertility of adults.

- They have wide tolerances and short lacks.

- They have high selectivity to beneficial insects.

- They are broad spectrum: controls eulias, moths and thrips.

- They do not leave residues in the wine.

- They have a slow release of active ingredient.

Since the control of moths is essentially preventive, products that have at least a persistence of 12 days should be chosen. It is essential that a good technique of application is used, so that as what must be protected is the cluster, the product must reach them impregnated.

When the cluster is very closed and / or the strain is heavily covered by leaves, the dusting treatments are more effective, since the dust reaches everywhere. In these cases it must be borne in mind that the persistence of the formulations in dusting is less than how much they are for its application via wet spray.



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