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Live Ladybug Delivery

Release of the Ladybugs

At 8:00pm last Thurs­day night, my wife and I wan­dered through Purisi­ma Moun­tain Vine­yard, deliv­er­ing over 210,000 lady­bugs to our grapevines. It was a very cool expe­ri­ence, hand deliv­er­ing these lucky” bugs to spe­cif­ic vines; it took us about two hours to deliv­er them all to our vines.

While I do hope they impart luck into this vin­tage, I rein­tro­duced a larg­er pop­u­la­tion of lady­bugs in order to spot treat the increas­ing leafhop­per pop­u­la­tion in select parts of the vine­yard, proac­tive­ly pre­vent­ing the dam­age they would cause to my vines. Leafhop­pers are an okay insect to have on the farm but only in mod­er­a­tion, just like any­thing; they feed off sap in the grape leaves, dam­ag­ing the leaves in the process. So if we have too many of these insects, our leaves will become too dam­aged. At a cer­tain life stage leafhop­pers are unable to fly and will stay on the back of leaves focus­ing on the deli­cious food right in front of them. I’ve kept a close eye on them over the past few weeks wait­ing for the hatch of the next gen­er­a­tion, and I felt like last Thurs­day was the oppor­tune moment to release the ladybugs.

Beckmen adding ladybugs

Lady­bugs are selec­tive preda­tor bugs and usu­al­ly only like to eat aphids. How­ev­er, when the leafhop­pers are new­ly born nymphs, they become a wel­come treat for the lady­bugs. I could have used an organ­ic spray to man­age the increas­ing leafhop­per pop­u­la­tion, but why not use lady­bugs? Just because a spray is organ­ic, doesn’t mean it’s always safe to use, or is the best solu­tion. At the end of the day, the spray is still poi­son, but in a nat­ur­al form (I could’ve used a spray derived from chrysanthemums).

Rein­tro­duc­ing lady­bugs is a form of inte­grat­ed pest man­age­ment – essen­tial­ly man­ag­ing pest dam­age in the most com­mon-sense way pos­si­ble. Lady­bugs are ben­e­fi­cial to our envi­ron­ment and they help decrease anoth­er pest issue, so it’s a win-win deci­sion for me. I try to be proac­tive with my farm­ing meth­ods, think­ing of solu­tions to prob­lems that may not yet even exist. Inte­grat­ing good bugs into our ecosys­tem to pre­vent dam­age down the road is a prime exam­ple of how we farm proactively.

Beckmen ladybug delivery
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Wine 101