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The small, approximately 3 millimeter long, silvery-white moths (also leaf-bag moths) are a family of butterflies, The family includes around 1,000 species worldwide, of which around 230 are also common in Europe. Many of them specialize in a single host plant and cause a characteristic damage pattern for the respective species. In the case of severe infestation, growth depressions can occur. The little butterflies fly mainly at dusk. They have a well-trained proboscis and long antennas. The fore body is usually raised in the rest position. The narrow wings often have long fringes.

The tracked have forward-facing mandibles (mouth tools) in the first larval stages, which allow cells to be pierced and sucked out, or used to chew plant and animal food. The caterpillars eat their way through the leaf tissue and create numerous, typically shaped, long feeding passages (mini-passages). The sheet dies around the corridors, turns brown and dries up completely in the event of heavy infestation. In the later stages, larvae of different ages can look very different. In many species, the oldest larval stages live in rolled-up leaves and gnaw their inside.

Miniature moths - Phyllocnistis vitegenella and miniature gear with caterpillar on a leaf

The vineminer moth Phyllocnistis vitegenella, which comes from North America, has also appeared in European vineyards since the early 1990s. First the pest was in Italy (Veneto, Apulia) sighted, now he has too Slovenia and the Switzerland (Ticino) reached. The moth spends the winter in diapause (temporary interruption of development) under the bark of one vine, In spring, the eggs are laid on the first unfolded leaves. The first mini-tours are already visible in May. The footless, whitish larvae or caterpillars go through five stages of development. There can be up to four generations per year.

Despite the obvious damage, the American leaf miner is considered a secondary pest, against which direct control measures rarely need to be taken. After analysis of the research station Changins (Switzerland) could be a chemical control insecticides prove ineffective. Tests carried out in Italy have shown that native hymenopteras parasitize the larvae, which is a biological, environmentally friendly solution. See a list of all pests below Vine enemies,

Left picture: Helmut Deutsch Butterfly Research
Right picture: Werner Pichler Lepiforum

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