Lobesia botrana

Scientific Name Lobesia botrana (Denis & Schiffermüller)
Synonyms Polychrosis botrana
Common Names English: Grape vine moth; German: Bekreuzter Traubenwickler; French: Eudémis de la Vigne; Spanish: Gusano de las uvas; Italian: Tignoletta dell'uva
Description The adult moths are 6-8 mm (0.23-0.31 inch) long. Their wings span about 18-20 mm (0.7-0.78 inch) and have a characteristic pattern in mostly gray colors, with three slightly slanted bands.
The caterpillar is up to 9 mm (0.35 inch) long and green or greenish-brown.

Biology

Damage

In early summer, larvae of the first generation feed on inflorescences, where they first hollow- out single flower buds. When they are older, they spin together several of these flower buds with silk thread, forming a sort of nest. Up to three such 'glomerules' may be built by each individual during larval development. They continue feeding inside and finally pupate.
The generations that follow later in the year attack the grapes. Again, the infested berries are spun together with adjacent ones. The caterpillars gnaw on, and bore into, several fruits each. While they will completely devour only a limited number of berries, even slight feeding damage will lead to infection of berries by fungi, especially the gray mould Botrytis cinerea. Many berries, including those around the feeding sites that may have been damaged directly, become brown and moldy.
The economic injury caused by the first generation is generally moderate, as most varieties of grapevine are able to compensate for the loss of flowers to a certain degree. Much more important is the damage to developing or ripe grapes, not least due to the secondary infections that reduce the quality of the wine produced.
Table grapes become unmarketable even if only a few berries are flawed.

Lifecycle

Lobesia botrana can have several generations per season, depending on local conditions such as climate, altitude or light intensity, from only two in the northern part of its range up to four, e.g. around the Mediterranean, or (seldom) even five.
Eggs (40-60 per female) are mostly laid singly, preferably in sun-protected places in inflorescences or in bunches of grapes, in the folds of dry leaves, under the bark or the straw mulch, or in cracks in support-stakes or under earth mounds.
Oviposition, like most activities of the adult moths, occurs primarily around dusk and only in mild weather. The larvae hatch after 4-15 days, and are initially very active, dispersing rapidly. Over a period of 3-4 weeks, they pass through five instars. In non-diapausing individuals (i.e. during the summer), the adult moth emerges 8-14 days after pupation. Towards the end of the season, mature larvae of the last generation leave the plant in search of a hibernation site, mostly under bark, in cracks of wooden support stakes or similar places. There, they build an especially strong cocoon that protects them during diapause and pupation. The first adults appear in the spring when the vines develop their first leaves. Two or three days after mating, oviposition begins.
Lobesia botrana is widespread in the wine-growing countries of Europe, Africa and Asia, but not in the Americas and Australia.

Occurrence

Additional Crop Information

By far the most important economically as a pest of grapevine, but also attacking among others ivy, privet, currant (black and red).

Agricultural Importance

In many areas where it is common, the grapevine moth is considered economically the most important pest of grapevine.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

Population densities may vary greatly between years, therefore careful monitoring is advisable. Pheromone traps are, however, only of limited use, as they will only indicate the presence of adults, but not the potential severity of damage.

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