Wachau Panorama

Sexual Confusion

Wachau vintners take land stewardship in a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site seriously. How does sexual confusion protect biodiversity?

The ancient dry stone wall terraces of the Wachau are not only home to some of the world’s best Riesling and Grüner Veltliner vines, they are also a habitat for rare flora and fauna – a unique ecosystem not found elsewhere. Vine moths and grape berry moths cause damage to vines and fruit and make them more susceptible to fungal disease. Climate change has increased the population by making it possible not just for two, but three generations of the pests each year. Conventional pest control employs an increasing number of insecticide sprayings that disturb the ecosystem and inhibit beneficial insects and other fauna and flora and a negative spiral begins.

Several years ago, the Vinea Wachau initiated the use of pheromone traps to control the moth population. These fairly inexpensive traps are highly species-specific and designed for mating disruption. Male moths are attracted to a powder containing female attractant pheromones. The pheromones stick to the males' bodies, and when they fly off, the pheromones make them attractive to other males. When enough males chase other males instead of females, egg-laying is severely impeded. Our chief winemaker Heinz Frischengruber explains, “The beneficial insects continue to thrive and are able to successfully compete with the remaining moth population. The entire eco-system benefits from the abstinence from insecticides.” With the Domäne Wachau and the entire Vinea Wachau vintner association in the same boat, the pheromone traps are successfully employed throughout the entire Wachau.

Domäne Wachau
3601 Dürnstein 107
Tel:+43-(0)27 11-371
Fax:+43-(0)27 11-371-13
office@domaene-wachau.at


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