The vine mealybug continues to be an issue for California grape growers. The pest can be hard to manage due to the size of infestations, especially for table grape growers.
“Vine mealybug has been in the Central Valley now for a good 15 years … It’s still there, it’s still a problem, and it’s something that any grape grower needs to manage from year to year,” Cooperative Extension Entomology Farm Advisor David Haviland said.
Management is especially important for some grape varieties. “If you are a wine or raisin grape grower, there’s a little bit of tolerance,” Haviland said. “But if you’re a table grape grower, you need to produce absolute, perfectly big and beautiful clusters, and you can’t afford having an insect in there.”
One of the challenges with managing the pest is the amount of generations it has in a year. “Usually it has five to seven generations in a year. Because of that reproductive potential, you can’t just go out there and simply control it in March and expect to have control all year,” Haviland said.