Grapes from our own garden are a real highlight. There is a choice of green, red and blue, as well as seeded and seedless varieties, all equally delicious and healthy. Sometimes, however, pests such as the vine pox mite can spoil the joy of the delicious fruit. But how do you recognize an infestation and how can you combat it as naturally as possible?
Table of Contents
Recognize an infestation
The vine pox mite (Eriophyes vitis) from the gall mite family is considered a pest in viticulture. It overwinters in the vine buds. As soon as they begin to swell or open, the mites start sucking on the undeveloped leaves.
- Typical damage to the wine shows up when it buds
- in the form of blister- or pock-shaped elevations on the leaves
- may be yellowish, reddish or greenish in colour
- whitish, later brownish fur felt on the underside of the leaves
- Felt mainly sits in these bumps
- despite conspicuous leaf symptoms, no major damage is usually to be feared
- in particularly dry years, a stronger infestation is also possible
- can lead to slight yield losses
- appropriate countermeasures make sense in these cases
- several methods for natural control possible
Cut off affected leaves
Even if the formation of leaf galls is very noticeable, it usually only represents a visual impairment on the wine, so that combating it is usually not necessary. However, if the sight is bothersome, removing affected leaves is the easiest way to control this pest. The cutting tool used should then be disinfected as far as possible to avoid transmission. The clippings should be disposed of with household waste and never on the compost heap.
use of beneficial insects
The grape pox mite has predators. If you settle them in the garden, you can quickly put an end to the wine pest.
Predatory mites (Typhlodromus pyri) are useful insects that can be used in many different ways and are usually the best way to combat grapevine pox mites on wine. They also occur in nature and will consume these pests without causing any damage to the vines. Since predatory mites naturally live where grapepox mites have nested, they usually do not need to be settled separately.
They not only destroy this, but also other pests on vines and other plants such as spider mites and aphids. Flowering plants near the vines are a popular source of food for the predatory mites and should therefore not be missing. If necessary, these natural pesticides can also be purchased from any beneficial insects dealer or online.
Predatory gall midges
The predatory gall midge, which also occurs naturally in the garden, is another predator of the grape pox mite and other pests, but especially their larvae. While most gall midge species are plant pests, a few are considered beneficial, such as Aphidoles aphidimyza and Episyrphus balteatus.
In addition to some aphid species and spider mites, their larvae also eat grape pox mites (Eriophyes vitis). They lay their eggs in close proximity to the pests. After a few days, the larvae hatch and then feed on the pests for about two weeks. Then they drop to the bottom, where they pupate at a shallow depth.
Another beneficial insect that also likes to eat the grape pox mite is the lacewing and its larvae. You can get them in the first or second larval stage from specialist shops.
- Lacewing larvae mostly supplied in honeycomb packaging
- should be applied promptly and exactly according to the manufacturer’s specifications
- When using, be careful not to overdose the larvae
- otherwise they could eat each other
- Grape pox mites or other pests remained unharmed
- a single treatment is usually not sufficient
- repeat if necessary after 10-14 days
- Avoid using other pesticides at the same time
- wait at least 6-8 weeks before and after using beneficial insects
Natural spray solutions
Damage caused by the grapepox mite is usually limited so that it does not have to be dealt with directly. However, you can counteract a new infestation in one way or another. This also applies to self-made spray solutions.
Preparations containing rapeseed or neem oil
Solutions containing rapeseed or neem oil are very suitable for this, provided they are used at the right time. In the case of the vine pox mite, this is immediately after the buds break open. This is exactly the right time because then the pests leave the buds in which they have overwintered.
To prepare an appropriate mixture of these oil-based agents, mix 10 ml of neem or rapeseed oil and 5 ml of Rimulgan with 1 liter of water. The plants are sprayed with this once a week shortly before they sprout, around April, for a period of four weeks. On the day of spraying, the weather should be as warm as possible.
Homemade nettle manure
- an effective and natural remedy for Eriophyes vitis
- Easy to make nettle manure yourself
From one kilogram of nettles and nine liters of water
- First chop the nettles coarsely
- then soak in a container of water
- It is best to cover the container to avoid unpleasant odours
- Stir the mixture well every day
- After three days, strain through a sieve or cloth
- Spray plants with the liquid every three to four days
- Repeat treatment several times
Prevent grapepox mites
In order to prevent an infestation by this pest, regular infestation checks during and after sprouting are recommended. It is particularly recommended to encourage the settlement of beneficial insects in the garden, especially predatory mites and the predatory gall midge. It is important for the predatory mites to ensure a constant supply of pollen, which can be ensured, for example, by planting hedges made of hazelnut, blackberry, red honeysuckle and red dogwood, for example.
In order to protect the wintering sites of the nocturnal, predatory gall midge, you should keep the ground covered as much as possible or equip it with evergreen plants such as the small periwinkle. By the way, the gall midge is particularly fond of chamomile, dill, yarrow, buckwheat and corn poppies.