Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Viticulture pests

Viticulture | Viticulture pests | Viticulture product management | Phylloxera

High priority exotic pest threats of the viticulture industry

The following are some key exotic pests that are a threat to the Australian viticulture industry. The climate of Australian grape production regions would allow each of these pests to survive, spread and establish, should they be introduced. Any of these pests would have serious consequences should they enter and become established in Australia. Additional information on these pests is included in the fact sheets.

These key pests were identified through the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Viticulture Industry. For a complete list of exotic pest threats for the viticulture industry, refer to the latest version available from your peak industry body.

Information about other pests of grapes is available from the industry pages for tables grapes, dried fruit and wine grapes on the Plant Health Australia website.

To improve biosecurity measures on your farm, include exotic pests when undertaking routine pest surveillance activities. Ensure that all surveillance activities, for both endemic and exotic pests, are recorded. Consultants carrying out the surveillance should be provided with pest fact sheets that show key symptoms for identifying characteristics of the target exotic pests.

Spotted-winged drosophila

Spotted winged drosophila

Drosophila suzuki. Photo by John Davis

  • Attacks a range of soft skinned fruit species
  • Egg deposition and larval feeding can occur in maturing, firm fruit
  • Larvae feed internally on fruit, are cream coloured and are about 3 mm long
  • Secondary infections can occur at egg laying sites, leading to fruit rot
  • Spreads throughout crops by flight or longer distances with infested plant material
  • Present through North America and some parts of Asia

Fact sheet



Daktulosphaira vitifoliae (exotic strains). Kevin Powell, DEPI Victoria


  • A number of highly virulent strains of phylloxera not yet present in Australia exist throughout most of the world’s viticultural regions
  • This small aphid – like insect is spread through infested plant material and soil
  • Infested vines will show low vigour during spring/early summer, then show yellowing and/or marginal reddening of the leaves during late summer/early autumn
  • Other visual symptoms include galls on fibrous roots and in some cases obvious galls will appear on the leaves

Phylloxera page

Grapevine red blotch-associated virus

Grapevine red blotch-associated virus

Grapevine red blotch associated virus (Geminivirus). Marc Fuchs, Cornell University

  • A recently identified and described virus, first detected in California (USA) in 2008
  • Causes red blotch symptoms on leaves, as well as a significant reduction in the sugar accumulation of grapes (>5° Brix)
  • Spread through grafting and propagation material
  • Present in North America

Fact sheet

Black rot

Black rot

Guignardia bidwellii. Matthew Zidek, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service,

  • A fungus that affects all green tissues of the grapevine, including the fruit
  • Can result in complete crop losses in warm and humid growing regions
  • Can spread easily over long distances through water and wind-borne spores, as well as through propagation material and fruit
  • Present in North America, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America

Fact sheet

Glassy-winged sharpshooter

glassy winged sharpshooter-5382591

Homalodisca vitripennis. Photo by Johnny N. Dell,

  • A xylem feeding leafhopper that causes direct damage to grapevines through its feeding activities
  • Main vector of the exotic Pierce’s disease (Xylella fastidiosa), which is a serious disease of grapevines and numerous other horticultural crops
  • Strong fliers that can move rapidly between plants, as well as through plant and propagation material during their egg and nymph phases
  • Present throughout eastern and western America, Mexico, Tahiti, Hawaii and the Cook Islands

Fact sheet

Grape berry moths

American berry moth

Lobesia botrana and Polychrosis viteana. Edward Hellman, Texas A&M University

  • Grape berry moths feed on grape flowers and fruit and can cause significant harvest losses
  • Larvae web together grape clusters and penetrate grape berries, hollowing them out and leaving only the skin and seeds
  • Adults can fly rapidly between host plants and larvae can spread through infested fruit and grapevine material
  • L. botrana is present throughout North America
  • P. viteana is present throughout Europe, North America, the Middle East and some parts of Asia, Africa and South America

Fact sheet

Grapevine leaf rust

Grapevine leaf rust

Phakopsora euvitis. Yuan-Min Shen, Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station,

  • A fungus that mainly occurs in warm temperate and subtropical growing regions
  • Infection mainly affects leaves, but can also affect fruit, stems and canes
  • Results in early senescence and leaf drop, which causes weakening of the grapevine and a reduction in fruit quality and quantity
  • Can spread easily over long distances through wind-borne spores
  • Present throughout Asia, North America, Central America and South America

Fact sheet

Vine mealybug & Grape mealybug


Planococcus ficus and Pseudococcus maritimus. Kent M Daane, University of California

  • Both mealybugs are small, cryptic insects that infest all parts of the grapevine
  • Mealybugs produce large amounts of sticky honeydew that damages the fruit and foliage and leads to sooty mould
  • Infestation causes the vine to decline in vigour and production
  • Spread mainly occurs through propagation material or via movement of fruit
  • Vine mealybug is present in Europe, Africa, Middle East and parts of North and South America
  • Grape mealybug is present in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and North and South America

Fact sheet

Angular leaf scorch & Rotbrenner


Pseudopezicula spp. Agroscope ACW, Werner Siegfried

  • Both diseases are caused by two separate species of the fungus Pseudopezicula spp
  • Causes lesions on leaves which leads to premature senesence
  • Can affect flowers before or during bloom, causing them to rot and then dry out
  • Spread through water and air-borne spores
  • Angular leaf scorch is present in North America
  • Rotbrenner is present in Europe

Fact sheet

Pierce’s disease

Pierce's disease

Xylella fastidiosa. Alex H Purcell, University of California, Berkeley,


  • Caused by a bacterium that lives in the water conducting system (xylem) of grapevines
  • Grapevines show symptoms of water stress, such as leaf scorch, and the plant progressively weakens and dies
  • Can be transmitted in infected propagation material and by leafhoppers such as the exotic Glassy-winged sharpshooter
  • Present in North America, Central America and some regions of South America

Fact sheet

Bacterial blight of grapevine

Bacterial blight of grapevine

Xylophilus ampelinus. ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, South Africa


  • Caused by a bacterium that lives in the vascular tissue of infected plants
  • Results in a reduction of vine health and major harvest losses in susceptible varieties
  • Can be spread through pruning tools, propagation material and wet and windy conditions
  • Present in Europe, and in parts of Africa and South America

Fact sheet

Priority viticulture pests already present in Australia

Endemic fruit flies

The Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) (Bactrocera dorsalis) and Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) (Ceratitis capitata) are significant threats to viticulture production and can make it more difficult to access vital export markets. Qfly is widespread throughout Queensland and has a limited distribution throughout south-eastern Australia. Medfly is restricted to parts of Western Australia. Further information can be found at or from your state or territory department of agriculture.


Phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) is one of the world’s most damaging grapevine pests, and is therefore an important biosecurity issue for the Australian viticulture industry.

More information

Pest surveillance

Reporting suspect pests