MSOB: Understanding Beneficial Habitat for Biological Control in Vineyards

Brian German Industry, Making Sense of Biologicals

biological control

Overall habitat can play a critical role in supporting biological control in vineyards. In a multi-year project looking at habitat diversification, Cooperative Extension Specialist with the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, Houston Wilson said they discovered something interesting related to coyote brush. The coyote brush served as a natural habitat for leafhopper species that are not an issue for growers. Those leafhoppers provided support for Anagyrus parasitoids to then mitigate grape leafhopper populations in vineyards.

“There’s no relationship between grape leafhoppers and coyote brush directory,” Wilson explained. “It was more that where you had more coyote brush, you would have higher populations of these Anagyrus parasitoids in the vineyard earlier in the season.”

The leafhopper species that serve as an alternative host for the parasitoids help to keep their numbers up as grape leafhoppers overwinter. Wilson said that habitat is going to be a key factor as to whether or not grape leafhopper populations are going to come under biological control by the parasitoids sooner rather than later. “It’s very important to get that process started earlier so those parasitoids can build up their population and really drive those leafhopper populations down as we get further into the summer,” Wilson noted.

Listen to the full episode with Houston Wilson below.

‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.

This episode of Making Sense of Biologicals is made possible by Marrone Bio Innovations, leading the movement to environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Marrone Bio’s portfolio of 18 products helps a wide range of growers – from row crops and fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, vines, and greenhouse production – operate more sustainably while increasing their return on investment. For educational webinars and biological IPM programs, visit