Chapter 21

Managing Vineyard Insect and Mite Pests

Grape Rootworm

The grape rootworm (Fidia viticida) is a native species of leaf beetle that occurs from the Atlantic Seaboard states to North Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. This pest appears sporadically and does not require treatment every year.


The most noticeable damage is the characteristic chain-like feeding pattern caused by the adults on the leaves (See Figure 21.15). This feeding damage is similar to that made by grape flea beetle larvae.

Life Cycle

Larvae of this beetle overwinter in the soil among grape roots. In the spring the beetle larvae pupate near the surface when grapes bloom.


Adult beetles feed on the upper surface of the leaves and can feign death when disturbed; therefore, they have the tendency to fall off vines. Look for slit-like feeding cuts made by adult beetles on leaves.

Pest Management

Cultural Practices

Pupae may be destroyed by shallow cultivation of soil until adults emerge in late spring.

Applying Control Materials

Control of the grape root borer is easily accomplished through insecticide treatments directed at the adult stage when chain-like feeding symptoms appear in the vineyard.

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