Disinfestation is a chemical process that serves to destroy undesired pests. For phylloxera, the footwear disinfestation process uses a chemical footbath that acts to kill phylloxera that may be present on shoes.

The footwear disinfestation process should be completed both before a visitor walks near your vines and before a visitor leaves your property, following the ‘clean in, clean out’ practice.

The same process is recommended for disinfesting pruning snips, picking snips, shovels and other small hand tools that come into contact with soil and grapevine material.

Phylloxera is very difficult to kill and only very few active ingredients have been proven effective against this pest, including the use of bleach, methylated spirits and Dettol.

Set up your disinfestation station as two-step process:

  1. Clean off soil and plant material on the footwear using a water and detergent solution and a scrubbing brush. Using a flathead screwdriver can assist in dislodging compact soil caught in the outsole tread. This cleaning step will reduce soiling of the disinfestation solution and prolong its efficacy.
  2. Disinfest according to the Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation protocol.

Footbath tips

  • Preferably set up in shade or under cover.
  • Use multiple stations of the two-step process for larger groups.
  • Cover tubs when not in use, as this will reduce the rate of chlorine breakdown by sunlight and heat and maximise the efficacy of the chlorine solution.
  • Change solution at least daily.
  • Manage traffic flow to avoid cross contamination.
  • Dispose of well away from vines and trafficked areas, e.g., on fence line.
  • Do not rinse footwear with water after disinfestation as you will reduce the efficacy of the disinfestation step.

Bleach strength and duration are vital for ensuring efficacy

  • Active ingredient of 40g/L (+) of sodium hypochlorite (generic and branded options available).
  • Choose pack volumes that make dilution (bleach:water) easy – e.g., 2L containers rather than 2.5L. An easy way is to empty 1 full bottle of bleach into the footbath tub then refill the bottle with clean water and add it to the bleach in the footbath for a 1:1 dilution.
  • Conduct a water test in your footbath tub prior to purchasing the bleach, to ensure coverage of the footwear. This volume will be the total liquid volume you require.

Note: bleach is particularly damaging to clothing.

Disinfectant options

  1. Dilute 1 part 40g/L+ sodium hypochlorite, to 1 part water. Time: 60 seconds
  2. 40g/L sodium hypochlorite undiluted. Time: 30 seconds
  3. 5% Dettol undiluted. Time: 60 seconds
  4. 95% methylated spirits undiluted. Time: 30 seconds. Caution: flammability

Vinehealth’s Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation Protocol poster is one of our most popular resources. In response to industry requests, we’ve had this poster translated into common vineyard worker languages – Dari, Hindi, Khmer, Pashto and Vietnamese. Click here to view the options.