Institute of Mediterranean Viticulture

Improving knowledge in ecological viticulture

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE GRAPEVINE MOTH USING BATS

The grapevine moth is one of the most important pests in the Region of Valencia. When they feed on fruit, the larvae of this lepidoptera generate entry points for Botrytis cinerea. This fungus, also known as grey mould, has a very negative effect on the organoleptic properties of wines.

 

Populations of this insect are kept below the damage threshold thanks to sexual confusion. However, the high costs associated with this treatment encourage us to look to the ecosystem to find other solutions.

In this sense, we began to develop a conservation plan in 2014 using bats in the vineyards of Fontanars dels Alforins and Enguera. The main reason for this practice is due to the flying mammal's diet: Bats are capable of ingesting over one thousand insects per hour. Technical work carried out by the IVM (Institute of Mediterranean Viticulture) focuses on ensuring the existence of shelters in the ecosystem. For this purpose, three types of nesting boxes for bats have been distributed throughout the vineyard to house breeding colonies. At the same time, a derelict house located at the heart of the vineyard in Fontanars is being adapted to house the hibernating colonies.

 The aim of the study is to control the population of grapevine moths by means of improving the living conditions of the species of bats that inhabit our region, some of which are at risk of extinction due to the lack of shelters and a misinformed public.