Choose your bat carefully

April 23rd, 2019 | Green Issues

Two of the biggest problems that we have in our vineyards are disease (often weather related) and pests (insects that can cause and spread disease). In the case of vineyard pests there are many different preventative measures that can be employed, some more aggressive than others. The use of phytosanitary treatments is the easy option, albeit far from being the most natural, and we now spend our time looking for more suitable options, in our quests for mindful, sustainable fruit production.

One method is by the use of pheromone traps, which causes confusion and should prevent mating of the insects – a method that we use in our own vineyards. However, a new and more innovative method is being studied in other wine regions of the world…. bats.

Studies have been carried out in France over a three year period using bats as a method of pest control. It appears that certain species of bat will feast on both the grapevine moth and the cochylis moth – it is known as BatViti… The result has been that the amount of pesticides required has been “significantly” reduced, and only really need to be used as a last resort.

Of course, the species of bat used is critical (I guess), as there are, of course, some species that feed on fruit and would enjoy a veritable banquet in our vineyards!

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