In Lodi, there are native gray ants and pavement ants facilitating the survival and spread of the vine mealybug, which vectors leafroll virus and vitiviruses. By reducing these ant populations in our vineyards, we can reduce the mealybug populations and slow the spread of leafroll virus and the sudden vine collapse. At this Mealybug & Ant Research Field Day on March 12, David Haviland (UCCE), Nathan Mercer, PhD, (CDFA), and Kent Daane, PhD, (UCCE) discussed their research on a new gel bait ant control method for mealybugs in vineyards, with an in-field demonstration of the new baits and applications, and updated us on mating disruption for vine mealybug. They presented research results that are specific to Lodi, since IPM for ants differs based on winegrowing region. Dr. Justin Tanner (UCCE) shared his plans for a regional ant IPM demonstration project he is conducting this year along with the Lodi Winegrape Commission, and Dr. Stephanie Bolton shared a regional strategy for healthy vines as it relates to ants, mealybugs, and viruses. A special thanks to Mike Klouda of Michael David Winery (who serves on the Lodi Winegrape Commission Research, Education & Communication Committee) for hosting us at Bare Ranch.

Ted Rieger published an article recapping the event on called “New Tools for Vineyard Ant Management.”

David Haviland shared copies of the 2023 UC ANR “Ants of California orchards and vineyards: an identification and management guide” which he co-authored with Stephanie Rill, Chelsea Gordon, Mark Hoddle, Nathan Mercer, Nicola Irvin, Michael Lewis, Soon Kwon, Kent Daane and Sandipa Gautam. Part of the research for this information was funded through a grant provided by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (#20-PMG-GR0004) entitled “Hydrogel baiting systems for sugar-feeding ants in California grapes and citrus“. The guide, which includes recipes for both conventional and organic hydrogel ant baits, is available to download HERE.

Nathan Mercer kindly shared his presentation slides with us, which are available HERE.

Kent Daane and David Haviland co-authored an excellent article for Wine Business Monthly called “Sustainable Control Tools for Vine Mealybug” which will be published in the April issue of the magazine.

Below are some photos from the event, taken by the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Grower Research & Education Director, Stephanie Bolton.