Corks damaged by Nemapogon granellus (L.) in Tuscan wine cellars (Italy)


Abstract: European grain moth, Nemapogon granellus (L.), is cosmopolitan in the temperate regions of the world and includes indoor and outdoor populations. Larvae feed on cereals, soybeans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, bran, grass seeds, clovers, flax, ergot, dry fruits, chocolate, mushrooms, seeds, moldy cheese, prunes, chestnuts, garlic, decayed wood, lichens, tobacco and pharmaceutical products. Some authors have stressed the importance of N. granellus as a pest in wine cellars where larvae feed on, and tunnel into, the corks of wine bottles. This causes aesthetic damage to the corks, which must be replaced before delivery to consumers. When tunnels ultimately connect both ends of the cork, the wine itself is affected and bottles rejected due to alteration in the organoleptic properties of the wine. During 2011, heavy infestations of European grain moth occurred in some Italian wine cellars in Tuscany (Italy), causing serious damage on exposed wine-bottle corks. The infestation occurred on red wine bottles (approximately 9,000) stored for aging for over 20 years. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy was adopted, monitoring N. granellus adults with pheromone traps, accompanied by careful cleaning of the rooms, shelves and machinery, alternated to localized treatments using fogs with pyrethrum, and by the replacement of the infested corks. In addition, application of cellar sanitation procedures reduced the sources of pests as well as the possibility of insect reproduction, particularly in the areas of corks storage.

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