From thoroughly studying the vine mealybug situation in Lodi, we’ve had the pleasure of learning a lot about beneficial insects. They deserve so much more attention than they get, and here’s why.
BENEFICIAL INSECTS: insects that help a farmer by parasitizing or preying on crop pests.
Here are five good reasons to LOVE beneficial insects in case you haven’t given them the time of day before:
No. 1: The life stories of beneficial insects are great conversation topics. I sent the photo below and a similar text message to almost everyone I know…in case you’re wondering, the dates for Valentine’s Day are rolling in!
No. 2: Creating habitat for these good insects naturally beautifies your vineyard – which means that when grape buyers and the public drive through your wine region, it’s extra pleasing to the eye. #premiumization
No. 3: Beneficial insects provide really awesome science lessons for kids. Watch these YouTube videos by Koppert with the children in your life if you want to teach them something cool!
No. 4: Perhaps most importantly, beneficial insects help delay resistance to chemical plant protectants.
No. 5: If you provide habitat for good insects and you don’t accidentally kill them with your spray program, they are a “free” army fighting vineyard pests like mealybugs and mites. According to the book “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects,” our U.S. insect buddies provide pest control services worth at least $4.5 billion annually. Use the chart linked below – produced by the Lodi Mealybug Biocontrol Research Focus Group based on UC IPM materials – to learn how to keep them alive!
Ready to learn more? Read the Xerces Society’s book “Farming with Native Beneficial Insects,” check out the Associates Insectary website, or sign up for Lodi Winegrape Commission emails by clicking on the button to the right!
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