Grapevine pests and diseases can be devastating for wine businesses. Unfortunately, there are many pests that can harm or kill grapevines. This is bad news for our growers, but also bad news for the billions of people who love Australian wine. The good news is that you can help keep vineyards healthy by staying out of vine rows and learning about vine health.
So, what are the worst pests?
Of the pests and diseases already in Australia, our greatest biosecurity threat is grape phylloxera. This tiny insect pest destroys vines by feeding on their roots. It wiped out vineyards in the US and Europe, which had to be replanted on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks. Thankfully, phylloxera is confined to regions in Victoria and New South Wales, while South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania are phylloxera-free. But it can be tracked to currently uninfested vineyards on tyres, footwear and clothing.
Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests. More than 300 types of fruit and vegetables can carry the flies, eggs or pupae. South Australia is fruit fly free. It’s vital that fruit and vegetables are not brought into the state.
Along with the pests listed above, there are many other hitchhikers that can hide in people’s luggage, clothing and shoes, including moths, bugs, beetles and toads. Some pests are particularly nasty, such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter, which decimated vineyards in California, by spreading the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa which causes Pierce’s Disease.
The impact of an outbreak of an exotic pest or disease would be enormous for the Australian wine industry. Please respect Australian biosecurity systems and do not bring any living creatures or plants into our clean and green environment.
Weeds can be harmful for vineyards, competing for water and nutrients and they add production costs to running a vineyard – potentially – the need for chemical control. Weed seeds can be tracked on vehicle tyres or shoes.
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