Grape Root Borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae): An Economic Pest of Commercial Vineyards in the Eastern United States
Rijal, Jhalendra P.
Bergh, J. Christopher
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Grape root borer, Vitacea polistiformis (Harris; Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) is indigenous to the eastern United States and an economically important pest of commercial vineyards much of that region. After eclosion from eggs laid above ground, the oligophagous larvae burrow into the soil and feed on grape roots for 1-3 yr before pupating and emerging as an adult moth. Compared with many other lepidopteran pests of economic crops, the development of IPM tactics for grape root borer has lagged. Indeed, an important ongoing issue is that grape growers often remain unaware of an infestation until the vines show advanced symptoms. While captures of males in sex pheromone-baited traps can be used to determine the initiation, peak, and cessation of adult flight annually, they are not useful to assess the degree of infestation in individual vineyard blocks. Regular sampling of the pupal exuviae left by emerging adults is the optimal method to assess grape root populations in commercial vineyards. The biology and pest status of grape root borer are reviewed and recent developments toward improved monitoring and management tactics for it are discussed.