Final Report – Funding Cycles 2022-24 (Two-year project)

Principal Investigator: David James, Washington State University, Prosser

Telephone: 509-786-9280

Cooperators: Aaron Avila, G.S. Long; Andreas Neuman, UAV IQ, Inc., Biotactics, Inc., and Kiona Vineyards

Summary: A two-year project, funded through the Washington State Wine Commission’s research grant program, studied the efficacy of using drones to release beneficial insects and mites as a labor saving step. Additionally, the project explored the potential of using the insect attractant methyl salicylate to keep the beneficials in the vineyard.

Field evaluation of drone-released beneficial insects and mites in central Washington wine grapes for improved biological control of mealybugs and spider mites, demonstrated good potential for this strategy for enhancement of biological control.  There was a trend towards reduced mealybug populations in blocks with drone releases of Cryptolaemus beetles and substantial suppression of spider mite populations was achieved in all treatment blocks.  The study also provided a powerful demonstration of the ability of methyl salicylate to attract substantial numbers of a diversity of beneficial insects and mites in wine grapes and improve biological control of mealybugs, spider mites and likely other grape pests as well. 

Many thanks go the G.S. Long’s Aaron Avila, who, in the second year of the project, donated the drone service and beneficials.

Pest & Disease // Technology // Viticulture //