It is a complex of insect species, belonging to the leafhopper family, which are characterized by their biting the leaves of the vine to feed themselves. This, in turn, reduces their photosynthetic capacity and if the populations are very high, can even defoliate the vineyard, compromising the sprouting of the following year and causing the death of the plant in some cases.
Currently there are no effective tools in organic farming to control the pest, except for the use of broad-spectrum and low-efficacy insecticides. To control the green mosquito, we carry out applications of kaolin, which in addition to being authorized for use in organic farming, being a mineral product, does not generate residues and has many other benefits in reducing thermal stress.
These treatments have been shown to be compatible with the development of the most important natural enemies of this pest. These are small wasps, less than 2 mm, that lay their eggs in the eggs of the green mosquito, making the pest egg unviable. These wasps need alternative food for their survival, mainly flower nectar, as well as alternative shelters for the green midge to spend the winter.
This way, we hope to reduce the number of treatments needed to keep the pest below the damage limit.
In 2018, we began to sample the vineyard and the aromatic plants that we had introduced on the edges of the plot with the aim of promoting the biological control of the green mosquito. The result of this work gave life to Pablo Martínez Baudés’ Master’s Degree Thesis in Agricultural Engineering at the UPV, directed by Rosa Vercher Aznar (UPV) and Juan Martínez Barberá (Bodegas Enguera).
At the same time, sampling was carried out to determine the ecological value of an important area of adventitious biodiversity adjacent to a plot and in the same vineyard. The result of this work is reflected in the Plant Health Masters thesis also carried out by Pablo Martínez Baudés and directed by Rosa Vercher Aznar (UPV) and Juan Martínez Barberá (Bodegas Enguera).