Other Moths That May Be in Grape Root Borer Traps

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A grower who recently started monitoring for grape root borer moths in their vineyard sent me images of moths he’d captured in traps yesterday, wondering what they were.

Moths captured in grape root borer monitoring traps in late May, grower photo.

Moths captured in grape root borer monitoring traps in late May, grower photo.

We typically do not capture grape root borers until July, and the moths in the traps certainly did not appear to be grape root borer moths, which are brown with yellow bands across their abdomen.

Female grape root borer moth. Photo: Hannah Burrack

Female grape root borer moth. Photo: Hannah Burrack

The pheromone lures used in grape root borer traps are known to cross-attract moths in the same family (the Sesiidae, or clear wing moths), but the moths captured also did not resemble the other common clearwing moth that can be captured in grape root borer traps, the squash vine borer, which has a mostly black thorax and an orange abdomen.

I was stumped because I could not find any images resembling these moths in my go-to online image databases, so I contacted Matt Bertone in the NCSU Plant Disease and Insect Clinic for assistance. With the assistance of GigaPan images from the NCSU Insect Museum, Matt was able to narrow down the likely candidates to the red oak clear wing moth. In fact, one of the specimens (see the snapshot zoom) in the Insect Museum was collected by faculty member John Meyer from a grape root borer trap!

Red oak clear wing moths from grape root borer trap, grower photo.

Red oak clear wing moths from grape root borer trap, grower photo.

We can add the red oak clear wing moth to the other “look-alikes” that may potentially be found in grape root borer traps. Growers monitoring for grape root borer should be prepared to distinguish between these species.

More information

Do it yourself: Grape root borer monitoringEntomology Portal