Protect Grapes from Wasps and Birds – Sweet Grapes are one of our favorite summer fruit snacks. However, it’s not just humans that enjoy eating grapes; wasps and other insects and animals do as well. Here’s how to keep wasps and other pesky insects away from your grapes.
Several gardeners and vineyard farmers look forward to the sweet, delectable grapes (Vitis vinifera) ripening in the autumn, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The sweet taste and distinctive perfume of the exquisite grapes grow over the course of up to 120 days on the vineyard. Unfortunately, these tasty grapes have already been damaged by uninvited guests like wasps and birds.
Wasps, on the other hand, enjoy the taste of grapes and will bore enormous holes in them. However, grapes are a welcome food source for a wide range of bird species. Here you will learn how to keep wasps away from your grapes and what precautions you should take.
In this post you can learn about
- 1 Why do Wasps eat Grapes
- 2 How do Wasps Damage Grapes
- 3 How to Protect Grapes from Wasps
- 4 How to Protect Grapes from Birds
Why do Wasps eat Grapes
When they find wasps eating their grapes, many gardeners are caught off guard. It’s a popular misconception that wasps only eat animal products or rotten fruits like other insects. Wasps eat a wide variety of things.
Adult wasps take nectar, pollen, and plant liquids in addition to animal proteins, which larvae prefer. Generally speaking, the sweeter something is, the better it is.
As a result, grapes are extremely popular for wasps, who like them for their pleasant fragrance and high sugar content. Wasps love grapes, especially when they are fully ripe and contain a lot of sugar because they make a great feeding source. There is no barrier to wasps penetrating the grape skin during ripening since it is so thin.
How do Wasps Damage Grapes
Individual fruits can be entirely hollowed out by the wasps’ sharp mouthparts. When it’s hot outside or there are a lot of wasps around, this can have disastrous results because the wasps will ruin a lot of the harvest.
Gardeners have to deal with feeding damage as well as the fact that it makes grapes more vulnerable to disease as a result of the wounds. Rot fungi or acetic acid bacteria can then infect the grape, resulting in significant harm to the fruit.
Damaged grapes, as well as grapes that have been infected with fungus or bacteria, should not be consumed. Grapes that have not been affected should also be thrown away since the sap from higher grapes might cause fungal illnesses in unaffected grapes.
How to Protect Grapes from Wasps
Before proceeding with the various methods to prevent wasps from devouring your grapes, it is important to understand why these insects attack grapes and how they damage the grape harvest.
Using Protective Bags
Protective bags for grapes are the most often used and it is the safest technique to keep insects away from your fruit. This method of grape protection has long been used by winemakers, but it can also be beneficial to home gardeners.
A few weeks before harvest, grapes are given protective grape bags to keep them safe. Individually placed and knotted organza bags hold the grapes in place. Fruit that has already been damaged must be removed from the bunch to stop the rot and other fungal diseases from spreading.
Even though bagging grapes to keep them safe from wasps is time-consuming, it has one important advantage: the grapes are safe because wasps can’t eat through the thin organza fabric. Additionally, because of the light fabric, the grapes are able to get adequate air and sunlight to grow unhindered.
Paper bags can be used for organza bags if you don’t have any on hand. However, because the paper is more prone to weathering, these must be checked on a frequent basis.
Contrary to popular belief, plastic bags don’t do a good job of protecting grapes because they don’t allow for adequate air exchange, which accelerates spoiling as well as the development of rot.
Using Water to Combat Wasps
Spraying water on the grapevines is a common wasp-repelling tip. Wasps are fooled by a fine mist of sprays, such as that from a water bottle or a lawn sprinkler, and they flee. Protecting grapes using water hasn’t worked in the real world.
This will help deter the wasps as they’ll return to the grapes after they’ve been kept away from them by running the sprinkler all day. This not only uses a lot of water, but it’s also a bad idea because it can lead to waterlogging if combined with an unfavorable soil ratio (such as one caused by excessive clay content or compaction of the soil).
The vine may be harmed as a result. Additionally, the water mist raises the fungus disease risk on the vine because of the increased humidity.
Essential Oils against Wasps
To keep wasps at bay, many people swear by using essential oils. However, what is effective for keeping wasps away from patios and balconies is ineffective for protecting grapes from them. For this protection method to be effective, it must effectively conceal the fragrance of the grapes because wasps avoid the smell of specific oils (for example, lavender).
It’s also tough to apply in the garden since you have to make sure the essential oils are appropriately dosed when you spray the vines with a solution of essential oils and water. An excessive amount of the essential oil might be harmful to the vine if used incorrectly.
To keep the aroma fresh, the procedure must be performed on a regular basis (particularly after a rainstorm). While scented candles and electric smell diffusers can disperse essential oils over a vast area, they should not be left unattended in the garden.
Primary Rock Flour
Insecticides are an option if you want to keep wasps away from your grapes. But they contain harmful toxins and are not recommended for use. It also harms beneficial insects, and hence you can use powdered rock as an alternative.
Wasps are scared away when the vines are powdered. Spreading primary rock flour is a simple task if you put it in an old stocking and shake it over the grapevines. You can also spray the grapes with a mixture of rock flour and water.
In addition to the disagreeable boulder-like surface, the rock flour layer on the grapes deters wasps by masking the sweetness of the grapes, which makes them less appealing to wasps.
It may be necessary to pollinate the grapes multiple times, depending on the weather conditions – particularly when it’s raining or windy. The primary rock flour should only be used on a few leaves at a time, though. Photosynthesis might be inhibited if the leaves are covered in a thick layer of flour.
In order to eliminate main rock flour from the grapes before harvest, they should be properly rinsed. After that, you’re free to indulge in them as much as you like.
How to Protect Grapes from Birds
Grapes aren’t just eaten by wasps. Birds also like these luscious berries. In particular, birds like starlings and blackbirds have a knack for grabbing luscious grapes right off the vine. Yet there are many other bird species that feed on the grapevine as well.
The moment the birds learn about the vines, they flock to them with such regularity that the gardener has almost nothing left to tend. Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep birds away from your grapes.
Protection Nets against Birds
Bird protection netting is a traditional method of keeping birds away from grapes. Birds cannot get to the grapes because of the tight-mesh nets, which effectively deter grape theft. Nets for bird protection do have a few drawbacks, however.
Many garden retailers sell green, fine-mesh nets that turn out to be deadly death traps. For the simple reason, that wildlife can only see them dimly and can become tangled in them. Instead, brightly colored nets, such as those in blue, are far more effective since birds can clearly distinguish them.
A common misconception among gardeners is that large-mesh nets are more bird-friendly. Unfortunately, this is a myth: small bird species can become entangled or damaged if the huge meshes catch sections of their bodies. When shopping for a safety net, be sure to look for one with a mesh size no larger than 25 x 25 mm.
Check to see if there are any spaces where birds could go under the net before attaching it. If the bird net leaves a gap, you can use clothespins to secure it to the vine. If the net is on the ground, hedgehogs, toads, and lizards will become tangled up in it.
In reality, netting the entire vine isn’t always necessary. You only need to net the grape zone laterally if they’re all hanging at roughly the same height. However, care should be taken to guarantee that the netting is impenetrable by birds so that no holes exist.
Even if a bird safety net has been properly placed, daily checks are required to ensure that if an animal becomes entangled in it, it can be rescued and released.
Computer CDs to deter Birds
If you want to keep birds away from your grapes in a non-intrusive fashion, you may make a simple bird repellent yourself. Most people already have the resources on hand to do this: a few old CDs as well as some string.
The CDs can be connected to the grapes in rows in near proximity to one another, allowing them to move freely in the breeze. As the sun moves and reflects off the reflecting side of the CDs, it will frighten the birds, making them avoid the area in the future.
Installing the CDs early is important since once the birds discover the new bunches, their hunger often overcomes their fear of the flashing CDs. A lack of reflections from the mirrored surfaces on the CDs due to bad weather with overcast skies also reduces the CDs’ efficiency.
Additionally, the habituation effect sets in quickly, making it difficult for more intelligent bird species to be driven away. CDs, on the other hand, are widely accepted as an excellent short-term option for keeping birds away from grapes.
A scarecrow in the garden may act as both an aesthetic element as well as an effective bird deterrent to protect grapes. However, there are a few tips to remember so that the scarecrow’s full impact can be realized. The scarecrow should be as human-like as feasible when it comes to appearance.
Scaring birds away with a scarecrow’s silhouette serves a practical purpose as well as an aesthetic one. More lifelike scarecrows have moving elements and long, loose-fitting clothing that flutter in the wind. The scarecrow’s effectiveness can also be increased by wearing reflective materials or making noises like rattling tin cans.
The scarecrow’s attire (and location, if possible) should be changed on a regular basis to reduce the habituation effect. Magpies and crows, in particular, are particularly good at spotting dummies, so the scarecrow is no exception.
Making Loud Noises
Birds are also annoying because of their constant chirping. If you want to keep birds away from your grapes, creating noise is an effective and risk-free solution. Noisemakers such as wind chimes, bells, and even rattling tin cans can scare away wildlife if they make too much noise. Loud music or other noises will also scare away birds.
Unfortunately, there are two drawbacks to excessive noise: To begin with, the noise bothers not only the birds but also those living nearby. A habituation effect may arise if the garden is continuously exposed to noise, causing the birds to unexpectedly reappear despite the noise. As a result, the noise should be varied repeatedly in terms of length, type, and timing.
Ultrasonic devices, on the other hand, are more aesthetically pleasing. These make noises that are not audible to humans but are quite repulsive to birds. Since motion detector devices don’t continuously generate sounds, they reduce the habituation effect.
Provide Alternate Food Sources
When the birds get peckish, they will also defecate on our flower beds, which we must protect. To keep birds away from your grapes, provide them with alternate food sources. Birds will flock to a section of your garden distant from your grapes if you set a bird feeder there.
Choosing the correct bird food is now critical; seeds and grains, as used in traditional bird feeders, are unsuitable as a source of diversion. Grapes are particularly beloved by soft feeders like blackbirds and starlings. Insects and berries make up the majority of their food, but they also consume fruit.
Offer them fruit leftovers, grubs, worms, or even some stale grapes, and the birds will rapidly switch to the bird feeder as their primary source of nutrition. Always feed vines until they are fully harvested to keep the birds away. If you stop feeding, the vines will become vulnerable again to bird attacks.