Grape Berry Moth

The larvae of this insect can cause serious damage to commercial vineyards by feeding on the blossoms and berries. Infested berries may appear shriveled with fine webbing. Damage by grape berry moth may increase mold, rots and numbers of fruit flies. While grape berry moth larvae may only damage a few berries in a cluster, it is impractical for growers to remove damaged berries and webbing from clusters. Hosts include wild and cultivated grapes.
The adult moth is small, active, and about 1/4 inch long. When it is at rest with its wings
folded, there is a brown band across the middle of the insect, the hind portion is gray-blue with brown markings, while the front portion is gray-blue without markings. The full grown larva is 2/5 inch long, pale olive-green, and can have a purplish tinge from the food it has eaten. The pupa is about 1/5 inch long, greenish-brown to dark brown and found under a flap cut in the leaf surface
The grape berry moth over-winters as a pupa in leaf litter under vines. Adults begin to
emerge in late May and lay eggs of the first generation singly on fruit stems just before blossom time. Eggs hatch in about 5 days. Under a flimsy web, the larvae feed for about 21 days on the blossoms and young fruit. In mid to late July, larvae move to leaves where they make a semicircular slit, fold the flap over themselves and pupate. Adult moths emerge from the pupae in 10 to 15 days. Moths begin laying eggs for the next generation after 4 to 5 days. There may be 2 or 3 generations per year. Larvae of the second and third generations enter berries and feed within, passing from one berry to another under protection of webbing. Some of the cocoons of the second or third generations fall to the ground where they over-winter.
Webbing over blossoms and berries, and leaf flap cocoons are indicative of grape berry
moth. In winter, the cocoons may be found in leaf litter under the vines. Clean up or bury leaf litter under vines in winter to eliminate over wintering pupae. Although larvae first appear when the grapes are in bloom, insecticides should not be applied until the berries are the size of small peas so as not to destroy beneficial pollinators. Insecticidal control of second generation is more difficult due to an extended flight period of moths as well as the difficulty of getting adequate spray coverage inside the cluster as berry size increases.

2 Replies to “Grape Berry Moth”

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