Problems, approaches and innovations in the control of grapevine pests

Grape mining moth — control methods

Duso, C. and Mori, N. and Pozzebon, A. and Marchesini, E. and Girolami, V. (2010) Problems, approaches and innovations in the control of grapevine pests. I. Grape berry moths and leafhoppers. [Online journal papers]

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Abstract (english)

In this review, climate change, invasive pests, changes in horticultural techniques and plant protection strategies are considered as major factors potentially involved in problems associated with grape pests. Temperature increase can alter pest phenology, determining an increase in the number of generations per year. Temperature increase can also induce an expansion of the geographic distribution of grape berry moths and leafhoppers. The invasion by nearctic pests has complicated the plant-protection management in some areas. The impact of horticultural techniques on grapevine arthropod communities is increasing in importance and interesting examples are provided by the effect of weed management on Bois Noir spread, and the interactions between water management and Empoasca vitis. Grape berry moth control is more often based on the use of insect growth regulators regardless of prior risk assessments. Flavescence dorée spread determined an increase in insecticide applications, since the control of its vector, i.e. Scaphoideus titanus, has became mandatory in several Italian regions. The recent research on E. vitis has focused on the spatial-temporal distribution of the populations, the effect of horticultural techniques on species abundance, the interactions with parasitoids, and the impact of insecticides. The effects of uncultivated areas contiguous to vineyards on the population dynamics of leafhoppers and their parasitoids have been widely studied. Outbreaks of Jacobiasca lybica in southern Italy as well as Erasmoneura vulnerata occurrence in northern Italy are matter of concern in grape pest management. On the other hand, Metcalfa pruinosa outbreaks are becoming rare. The phenology of Lobesia botrana, its relationships with Botrytis cinerea and fungi producing OTA, as well as grape variety effects on berry moth abundance, have been matter of study in different investigations. Grape berry moth control strategies include a widespread use of IGRs, but Bacillus thuringiensis formulations can represent a suitable alternative to the use of insecticides. Mating disruption has been successfully applied in some areas and further sex pheromones-based techniques are under development. Interactions between grape pests and their antagonists are dramatically affected by pesticide use even in organic farms. Further investigations involve the study and exploitation of plant derived volatiles attractive to grape berry moth females. Spatial distribution of L. botrana appears of major importance for sequential sampling plan definition and in the interpretation of adults migration within agro-ecosystems.

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EPrint type: Online journal papers
Anno di Pubblicazione: 2010
More information: ID: 20103358055; Author Affiliation: Dipartimento di Agronomia ambientale e produzioni vegetali — Entomologia, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy.
Key Words: arthropod communities; bacterial insecticides; biological control; biological control agents; botanical insecticides; chemical control; climatic change; cultivars; cultural methods; disease vectors; geographical distribution; grapes; horticulture; insect control; insect growth regulators; insect pests; insecticides; invasions; invasive species; mating disruption; natural enemies; ochratoxins; organic farming; outbreaks; parasitoids; pathogens; pest control; pesticides; phenology; plant extracts; plant pathogenic bacteria; plant pathogenic fungi; plant pathogens; plant pests; plant protection; population density; population dynamics; reviews; risk assessment; sex pheromones; spatial distribution; spatial variation; species richness; spread; temperature; temporal variation; volatile compounds; water management; weed control; weeds; Bacillus thuringiensis; Botrytis cinerea; Empoasca vitis; fungi; insects; Jacobiasca lybica; Lobesia botrana; Metcalfa pruinosa; Phytoplasma; Scaphoideus titanus; Vitis; Vitis vinifera; Italy; bacterium; biocontrol; biocontrol agents; biological control organisms; climate change; crop protection; cultivated varieties; eco-agriculture; ecological agriculture; fungus; invasive organisms; invasives; leafhoppers; organic culture; pest insects; phytopathogenic bacteria; phytopathogenic fungi; phytopathogens; plant-pathogenic bacteria; plant-pathogenic fungi; Vitaceae; volatile constituents; water resource management; Bacillus (Bacteria); Bacillaceae; Bacillales; Bacilli; Firmicutes; Bacteria; prokaryotes; Botrytis; Sclerotiniaceae; Helotiales; Leotiomycetes; Pezizomycotina; Ascomycota; eukaryotes; Empoasca; Cicadellidae; Cicadelloidea; Auchenorrhyncha; Homoptera; Hemiptera; Hexapoda; arthropods; invertebrates; animals; Southern Europe; Europe; Mediterranean Region; Developed Countries; European Union Countries; OECD Countries; Jacobiasca; Lobesia; Tortricidae; Lepidoptera; Metcalfa; Flatidae; Fulgoroidea; Acholeplasmataceae; Acholeplasmatales; Mollicutes; Scaphoideus; Vitidaceae; Rhamnales; dicotyledons; angiosperms; Spermatophyta; plants
Codice ID: 4169
Depositato il: 10 May 2011 10:46

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Grape Berry Moth Management


Grapes 101 is a series of brief articles highlighting the fundamentals of cool climate grape and wine production.

GBM females lay their eggs on developing grape berries. Larvae burrow into the berry, feeding internally. Understanding the timing of GBM and the influence of the surrounding habitat on GBM pressure in the vineyard are keys to effective spray timing and management. Photo by J. Ogrodnik.

The grape berry moth (GBM), Paralobesia viteana, is the primary insect pest of grapes grown in the eastern United States. The female GBM typically lays her eggs directly on the berry. When the eggs hatch, the larvae are in the perfect location to immediately begin feeding directly on the grape berries. Their feeding causes both crop loss and contamination, and damage from late season feeding creates an entryway into the berry for the complex of late season rots. Most growing regions can expect two to three generations of GBM each year. Over the past 30 years, GBM management recommendations have been driven by changes in grape prices, government insecticide regulations and canopy management practices. The latest model incorporates both weather data and an understanding of insect biology to improve risk assessment and inform spray schedules.

Grape Berry Moth Risk Assessment Protocol

Early systems were based on the application of three insecticides, using a timing that was based both on the grapevine’s growth stage and the calendar. In response to dropping grape prices in the 1980s,the Grape Berry Moth Risk Assessment Protocol was developed, based on the vineyard’s history of grape berry moth damage, climate (i.e. winter low temperatures plus snow cover) and proximity to woods. This protocol provided growers with a roadmap for GBM management by specifying the timing of scouting and insecticide applications using the vineyard’s risk classification. It was a significant step forward compared to the calendar-based insecticide program of the past, but its calendar-based mid- and late-season scouting and insecticide timings were not effective in controlling late-season GBM damage, which was on the increase due to the government’s decertification of many broad-spectrum insecticides, new training systems that created larger, denser canopies (primarily in the Concord industry), and overall warmer temperatures throughout the growing and dormant seasons.

Phenology-Based Degree-Day Model

In response to the breakdown of the GBM RA Protocol, research and extension staff from Cornell, Penn State and Michigan State University sought alternative management strategies for GBM that replaced calendar-based scouting and insecticide sprays with a growing degree-day model to predict the peak of the damaging larval phase of each GBM generation. Because insect development is driven by temperature, the warmer the temperatures over a period of time the more quickly a grape berry moth will complete its life cycle. GBM typically completes two to three generations per year in New York state. Conversely, cooler temperatures will delay GBM development, requiring more time to complete a life cycle. Research showed that 810 degree days are required for grape berry moth to complete a generation, so in the model, a base temperature of 47.14°F is used.

Degree-day calculation example:

To calculate degree-days, the high and low temperature for a 24-hour period

Grape Berry Moth: Answers to questions you should be asking about this native pest

By: Andy Muza, Penn State Extension – Erie County

In Erie County, Pennsylvania, grape growers are more than familiar with the perennial, insect pest known as grape berry moth (GBM). However, as more vineyards are being planted throughout PA, growers in other areas of the state may be unaware of the threat that this destructive insect poses to grapes. Therefore, in this blog I will be discussing grape berry moth (GBM) by answering questions that a grower should ask if they are unfamiliar with this pest.

1) What is Grape Berry moth and why should I be concerned about this pest?

GBM is an insect in the Order: Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) and Family:Tortricidae. It is native to the eastern U.S. and has evolved with wild grapes (e.g., Vitis riparia). GBM larvae feed on berries of grapevines which are spread throughout eastern woodlands. As commercial vineyards are being planted in counties across the state this insect will readily take advantage of the newly available food sources. Grape Grape berry moth is considered a serious pest of grapes throughout all of the eastern U.S. GBM larvae feed directly on berries causing yield loss due to: consumption of berries; berry shelling; and crop rejection due to contamination. In addition, feeding injury provides entry points for fungi (e.g., Botrytis) and bacteria which can cause cluster rots.

Shelled Concord berries due to GBM infestation. Photo Credit: A. Muza, Penn State

Chardonnay cluster with Botrytis bunch rot.
Photo Credit: Greg Loeb, Cornell

2) How do I identify grape berry moth and what is the life cycle?


Egg – Laid singly on berries; very small ( Larva – 4 larval stages; Newly hatched – tiny, creamy white with dark head capsule; Later stages – greenish to purple coloration (10 mm).

Pupa – Light brown to greenish coloration (5 mm). Pupae encased in leaf sections which are easily moved by wind to wood edges, trashy areas.

Adult – Small moth (about 6 mm); brown coloration; base of wings grey- blue; brown patches at tips of wings. Moths active at dusk and fly in a zig zag pattern.

LIFE CYCLE This pest has 3-4 generations/year in PA, depending on seasonal temperatures. This insect overwinters in the pupal stage in plant debris on the vineyard floor or in protected sites, such as wooded areas, where leaf debris has collected. The adults emerge in spring (late May in Erie County, Pa.), mate, and females lay eggs on flower clusters and berries. Larvae hatch and web together small berries (early in the season) and feed, or bore into berries (at about 5 – 7 mm in size). Larvae exit berries after completing feeding and either: cut a semicircular flap in a leaf to pupate in the canopy; or drop to the ground and pupate in leaf litter. Adults emerge and continue this cycle for several generations throughout the season.

Grape berry moth pupating within leaf flap. Photo credit: A. Muza, Penn State

Grape Berry Moth Fact Sheets containing additional pictures of life stages, injury and life cycle information can be obtained at the following sites: NY IPM Program;; Mid-Atlantic Vineyards Grape IPM; and Ontario GrapeIPM.

3) How do I know if GBM is present and causing problems in my vineyard?

Indicators of potential GBM problems include: Feeding injury (small holes) in berries, shelling of berries, rotting clusters.

Scouting Regular scouting throughout the season is a critical component of GBM management and will reveal if this pest is present in the vineyard. A scouting protocol and assigning a GBM risk rating is outlined in “Bulletin 138, Risk Assessment of Grape Berry Moth and Guidelines for Management of the Eastern Grape Leafhopper”

When scouting, pay particular attention to areas most susceptible to infestations such as: border rows near woods, overgrown areas, tree lines, or any protected areas around the vineyard where leaf debris might collect.

Since other disease causing organisms may also cause injuries similar to GBM damage, examine clusters closely. What to look for: webbing in clusters; berries with holes, splits or dark tunneling underneath berry skin; reddish or brown discoloration of berries; presence of larva and/or frass in injured berries. Observation of eggs can be difficult due their small size so a hand lens is useful. Positioning clusters towards the sunlight as they are examined will aid in revealing eggs. Practice is required to acclimate your eyes for observation of eggs.

Webbing in cluster caused by GBM larva. Photo credit: A. Muza, Penn State

GBM entry holes in Niagara berries. Photo credit: A. Muza, Penn State

Grape berry moth eggs on Concord cluster. Photo credit: A. Muza, Penn State

Map vineyards and keep records – Make detailed maps of your vineyards and surrounding topography. Keep records of GBM injury levels for each scouting date and vineyard sections checked. These records will provide a GBM history per site.

Pheromone Traps – GBM population levels can be monitored using commercially available pheromone traps. Monitoring traps are baited with small rubber lures impregnated with GBM female sex pheromone for attracting male moths. Pheromone traps can be used as a scouting tool to indicate flight periods and can provide an idea of population levels at your vineyard site. However, trap data are not used for timing of spray applications due to ambiguity concerning correlation of capture numbers and berry injury levels. Monitoring traps are available at Great Lakes IPM, Inc. and Scentry Biologicals, Inc.

4) How do I manage Grape Berry Moth?

CULTURAL PRACTICES Maintain good weed control under the trellis. Poor weed management resulting in excessive vegetation under the vines can harbor GBM pupae. Viticultural practices that promote a more open, less dense canopy resulting in better exposure of clusters to sunlight (e.g., judicious use of nitrogen, shoot and leaf removal) will not only improve quality of fruit but will enable better spray coverage. Vineyard Vineyard area maintenance such as preventing overgrown, trashy areas around the vineyard will reduce overwintering sites for GBM. Removal of wild grapevines near the vineyard will decrease potential reservoir sites.


The temperature-driven developmental model for GBM was developed by Tobin and Saunders and is now incorporated into Cornell’s Network for Environmental and Weather Applications (NEWA). Currently, many grape growers in the Lake Erie Region have adopted this model to more accurately time insecticide applications for GBM management. Prior to the GBM forecasting model, grape growers in New York and in Erie County, PA used the grape berry moth risk assessment program to time insecticide applications. However, collaborative research at Penn State, Cornell and Michigan State Universities has shown that timing of insecticide applications using the GBM degree-day model results in less injury compared with the grape berry moth risk assessment protocol ( “Focus on Females Provides New Insights for Grape Berry Moth Management” , Issue 14, May 2013 ).

(I highly recommend reading this article by Saunders, Isaacs and Loeb which provides an excellent background concerning the development and explanation on use of this forecasting model).

Use of this developmental model can improve GBM management. However, to ensure the greatest efficacy a few steps are required:

  • Check the NEWA weather station closest to your vineyard. If a weather station is not located close enough to your vineyard site then you will have to record temperature data on your own and follow the procedure outlined in “Focus on Females Provides New Insights for Grape Berry Moth Management” .
  • Monitor and record the date of wild grape bloom (i.e., when approximately 50% of flowers open) for each site and enter these dates into the model. If you do not record a wild grape bloom date for your site then the model will provide an estimated date for the weather station that is used.
  • Regularly check the model to track degree days.
  • Scout both before and after insecticide applications.
  • Incorporate GBM selective insecticides (i.e., Intrepid, Altacor, Belt, Delegate) into your spray program which will also aid in conserving natural enemies. Obtain a copy of the 2015 New York and Pennsylvania Pest Management Guidelines for Grapes . This guideline provides insecticide recommendations and efficacy information for grape berry moth management in Pennsylvania vineyards.
  • Spray as close to the designated degree day timings as possible (i.e., the day of or within 1 or 2 days of the recommended date).
  • Evaluate efficacy of applications.

It is important to be aware that the model provides the optimum timing for an insecticide treatment. However, the decision to apply an insecticide depends on your scouting data and the history of GBM injury at your site.


Obtaining good spray coverage on clusters is critical. However, this can be a challenging feat, particularly later in the season due to the extent of canopy growth. Therefore, it is important that diligent spray practices are adopted.

How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer

Scientific name: Harrisina brillians

(Reviewed 7/15 , updated 7/15 , corrected 4/19 )

In this Guideline:

Description of the Pest

The metallic bluish or greenish black western grapeleaf skeletonizer moths fly during the day. Body length is about 0.6 inch and the wingspan is 1 to 1.3 inches. There are three generations per year in the Central Valley and two generations in the cooler coastal regions. Adult moths of the first generation in the Central Valley emerge from hibernating pupa in early spring to June. The pale yellow or whitish capsule-shaped eggs are laid in clusters on the underside of grape leaves. After hatching, the larvae line up and feed side-by-side on the leaf underside until the early fourth instar stages. There are five larval stages. The first two stages are cream colored, the third stage is brownish, and the fourth and fifth stages are yellow with two purple and several blackish bands. Larvae have conspicuous tufts of long black poisonous spines that cause skin welts on field workers. The fifth or last larval stage is about 0.6 inch long. When mature, larvae crawl under the loose bark or into ground litter and spin a dirty, whitish cocoon to pupate.


First through the early fourth instar larvae feed on the lower leaf surface, leaving only the veins and upper cuticle. This gives leaves a whitish paperlike appearance; eventually the entire leaf turns brown. The late fourth and all fifth stage larvae skeletonize the leaves, leaving only the larger veins. When abundant, larvae can defoliate vines by July. When vines are severely defoliated, larvae will then feed on grape clusters, which can result in bunch rot. Defoliation can also result in sunburn of the fruit and loss of quality. Defoliation after harvest may weaken vines by affecting stored reserves. Larvae also can cause problems for workers at harvest because hairs on their bodies can irritate the skin if they are brushed against.


Western grape leaf skeletonizer does not occur in all grape-production areas because the moths are not long-distance fliers and this pest has been slow to spread in California since its first appearance in the 1940s. In areas where it does occur, granulosis virus usually keeps populations below economically damaging levels. When the virus is insufficient, western grapeleaf skeletonizer is easily controlled with insecticides that are also effective on other caterpillars, leafhoppers, or thrips.

Biological Control

Two insect parasites, Apanteles harrisinae and Amedoria misella (Sturmia harrisinae), attack western grapeleaf skeletonizer larvae. Thousands of these parasites have been released in the San Joaquin Valley, and Amedoria misella is common in many vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley.

A granulosis virus, endemic in southern California, has been introduced in selected areas with excellent success. It is extremely infectious when it is introduced into an outbreak population of western grapeleaf skeletonizer. Symptoms of populations infected with the virus include: (1) eggs within clusters are scattered instead of compactly laid, and the number of eggs is reduced; (2) most eggs fail to hatch; (3) larvae consume tiny patches of tissue rather than consuming entire areas of the leaf; (4) diseased larvae are sluggish and feed solitarily instead of in tight groups and usually tend to wander irregularly, leaving a visible trail of liquid excrement; and (5) larval growth and coloration change, and larvae shrink and eventually die. This virus is transmitted from one generation to the next by disease-carrying adults that survive a low degree of infection in the larval stage.

Organically Acceptable Methods

Biological control and sprays of Bacillus thuringiensis and the Entrust formulation of spinosad are acceptable for organically certified grapes.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

If the granulosis virus is not present, the amount of leaf damage will increase with each generation. Monitor end and border vines during the first generation. This can be done at bloom when monitoring for other caterpillars; see MONITORING CATERPILLARS. Record results on a monitoring form (example form— PDF ). If larvae are found and the virus is not present, treat soon after bloom. If needed later in season, treat when young larvae are found.

Check table grapes for sunburned fruit, a possible sign of defoliation caused by western grape leaf skeletonizer.

Common name Amount per acre** R.E.I.‡ P.H.I.‡
(Example trade name) (hours) (days)

The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide’s properties and application timing. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read the label of the product being used.
(Intrepid 2F) 10–16 fl oz 4 30
COMMENTS: Do not apply more than 48 fl oz/acre per season.
(Altacor) 2.0–4.5 oz 4 14
(Delegate WG) 3–5 oz 4 7
COMMENTS: A stomach poison; most effective when ingested. To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
(Entrust)# 1.5–2.5 oz 4 7
(Success) 4–8 fl oz 4 7
COMMENTS: Apply when eggs first hatch to target the young larvae. A stomach poison; most effective when ingested. Heavy infestations require a second application in 4 or 5 days. To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
(Kryocide) 6–8 lb 12 30
(Prokil Cryolite 96) 6–8 lb 12 30
COMMENTS: Wine and raisin grapes: limit of two applications per season. Table grapes: One application only and not after fruit formation. If used on wine grapes or grapes that may be sold to a winery for export, observe their restrictions on applications. A stomach poison that must be consumed by larvae so thorough coverage is important. Less harmful to natural enemies than carbaryl and provides long residual action.
(various products) Label rates 4 0
COMMENTS: Only effective against young larvae. Provides fairly good control, has a short residual, and is not harmful to natural enemies. If coverage is not satisfactory or if all the eggs have not hatched, requires a second treatment.
(Assail 70WP) 1.1 oz 12 3
COMMENTS: To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
(Agri-Mek SC) 1.75–3.5 fl oz 12 28
COMMENTS: Do not make more than two applications per growing season. Dust on leaves will inhibit absorption of this material. Effectiveness is also reduced by sulfur burn on leaves. To protect honey bees, apply only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present. Certain formulations emit high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs); use low-VOC formulations. Regulations affect use for the San Joaquin Valley from May 1 to October 31, 2019.
(Admire Pro — Soil) 7–14 fl oz 12 30
(Admire Pro — Foliar) 1.0–1.4 fl oz 12 0
COMMENTS: Do not exceed 0.5 lb a.i. of imidacloprid/acre per year. To protect honey bees, apply foliar sprays only during late evening, night, or early morning when bees are not present.
(Avaunt) 3.5–6 oz 12 7
** Apply with enough water to provide complete coverage.
Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the R.E.I. exceeds the P.H.I. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at



UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Grape
UC ANR Publication 3448

Insects and Mites

L. G. Varela, UC IPM Program and UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
D. R. Haviland, UC IPM Program and UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
W. J. Bentley, UC IPM Program, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier
F. G. Zalom, Entomology, UC Davis
L. J. Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County
R. J. Smith, UC Cooperative Extension, Sonoma County
K. M. Daane, Kearney Agricultural Research Center, Parlier

Acknowledgment for contributions to Insects and Mites:

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2019 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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