Growers face many pests in their vineyards throughout the season. Yet many rank mites as the biggest threat among the bunch. In August, heat and dry weather can pair for a dangerous mite flair-up in grape crops.
According to University of California IPM, spider mites reproduce rapidly in hot weather and commonly become numerous in June through September. If weather and food supplies are favorable, a generation can be completed in less than a week. The pests prefer hot, dusty conditions and are usually first found on crops near dusty roadways.
Mites are tiny in size, which makes them nearly impossible to detect with the naked eye. Chances are you’ll notice plant damage, such as stippled or yellow-spotted leaves, before you spot the mites themselves. University of California IPM recommends checking the undersides of grape leaves with a hand lens to identify mites, their eggs and webbing.
Once a mite population explodes, yields can be reduced by 20 percent or more. In this period of high alert, determining the right program to control undesirable mites is very important. The use of the right chemistry at the right time will attack the pests while maintaining beneficial insect populations. Protection of predator mites and other helpful insects prevents secondary pest outbreaks or spider mite flares.
Choosing the right miticide
There are several standards to consider when choosing a miticide. Make sure to check these boxes when making your selection:
- Effectiveness on multiple species
- Control of mites in all life stages, from eggs to adult
- Easy on beneficial insects
- Excellent crop safety
- Short re-entry and pre-harvest intervals
- Unique class of chemistry
- Easy to use
Benefit from beneficials
Think about steps to maintain beneficial populations and achieve good spray coverage with miticide applications when pest populations reach the treatment threshold level. A good predictor for mite infestations is looking at what insecticides you used early in the season to control other insects. For example, if you’re treating for grape vine mealybug, look at how those treatments affected the predator mites, sixspotted thrips and other predators of spider mites.
Pay special attention to applying selective miticides to maintain populations of beneficial insects and predator mites, which will help control spider mites later in the season. For miticide applications, maintaining good IPM practices and the populations of beneficials are important.
Treatments to fight the mites
UPL provides miticides with quick knockdown, long-lasting control, and selectivity on beneficial insects and predator mites, all for excellent IPM compatibility. Products such as VIGILANT®, ACRAMITE®, KANEMITE® and OMITE® Miticides offer protection designed specifically to ward off harmful species. Gentle towards beneficial insects and predatory mites, these miticides work together with the vineyard’s natural ecosystem to keep grape vineyards pest-free.
VIGILANT® and ACRAMITE® Miticides can be applied throughout the season, offering rapid knockdown and long residual control of all stages of spider mites. Easy on beneficial insects and predatory mites, these products are ideal for integrated pest management programs.
Another treatment beneficial in resistance management is KANEMITE® Miticide, which offers a unique chemical subgroup for fast knockdown of all stages of spider mites. With a 7-day pre-harvest interval, KANEMITE® is a great option to control two-spotted spider mites and Pacific spider mites towards the end of the grape-growing season.
OMITE® Miticide is a great rescue treatment as it features three routes of entry into the pests — contact, residual and inhalation. The product features a unique active ingredient with fuming action that penetrates the webbing and nooks and crannies where spider mites live. Rainfast after drying, OMITE provides long residual control throughout the season.
No matter how growers choose to control spider mite populations, it is important to catch the issue as early as possible and stay on top of it. Grower action now will help prevent damage, protect yields and reduce the number of overwintering female spider mites, which could damage crops next season.
For a complete line of grape protection and a staff dedicated to keeping your vineyard running strong, contact your retailer or UPL sales representative for additional information, or visit www.arysta-na.com.