against screw of the vine

According to an investigation against the "Screw of the Vine" made by the University of León, in the fight against this plague there would be biological solutions, being a fungus that would have the key.

The 'screw of the vine' is one of the most harmful pests for the vineyards of the Iberian Peninsula. The cause of the problems would be the insect 'Xylotrechus arvicola', which looks like a wasp. It should be noted that this insect, while harmless to humans, is a serious problem for vineyards.

With the reduction of the use of phytosanitary were imposed by Europe, which forces to withdraw from the market a large number of phytosanitary products in accordance with the European standards of environmental policies and human health. Therefore, scientists study the application of biological control agents, such as fungi.

The grupo universitario de investigación en Ingeniería y Agricultura Sostenible (GUIIAS) of the University of León, is conducting studies on the biology of this insect, looking for other new methods to combat it, which would be based on the fight with fungi.

The larvae of the insects live inside the vines, digging galleries in the wood for one or two years. In this way the spread of different diseases of the vine wood towards the interior of the plant is favored, as for example, the tinder.

The strains affected by X. arvicola have unproductive shoots, arms and fragile trunks that break easily and can cause the death of the plant. The external symptoms of this plague in the vineyard are the galleries produced by the larvae, which are observed when making the pruning cuts, and the orifices produced in the wood for the exit of the adult insects, which are circular and of about five millimeters diameter.

This insect attacks the main wine producing regions since the end of the 90s. It is a pest in progression, since every year there is an increase in the number of vines and strains affected.

The research group began studying the biological aspects of the pest to know if the different environmental conditions during the larval development and the adult stage of the insect could affect the fecundity, viability and the number of egg laying by the females after the pairing.

For this, they captured wild females in vineyards of the D.O. Toro and D.O. Ribera del Duero and raised others in the laboratory from larvae.

With the obtained data there is a more exact knowledge of the number of egg laying and its viability, from the period of emergence of the insects inside the wood, in order to perform a treatment with active materials of low impact for the environment or through biological control agents that include the control of adults, eggs and larvae.

GUIIAS researchers have been working with fungi Trichoderma for more than a decade. They are characterized by being present in most of the cultivation soils, being of rapid growth and protecting the plant against the attack of pests and diseases.

It could be an effective solution for the 'screw of the vine', since this type of fungi have been isolated and identified in vineyards that have previously been attacked by X. arvicola. Good results have been obtained in the laboratory and it is expected to perform a biological control of this insect in the vineyard. Therefore, the next objectives of this research group are to transfer these investigations to the field.

Source: SINC 28 February 2018

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