How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes


Cutworms are dull-colored caterpillars ranging in length from 1 to 2 inches when fully grown. The color and markings of their bodies blend well with the soil, where they are frequently found, especially during the day.

Life cycle


Damage to grapevines occurs from bud swell to when shoots are several inches long. Buds are eaten out and new shoots are eaten partway through. Injured buds may fail to develop canes or clusters, which can cause yield reduction.


Cutworms are pests only in the spring. Vines usually outgrow this damage. Pesticides are not very effective and not recommended for backyard grapes. Working grasses and weeds into the soil in fall or early winter destroys many eggs and young larvae. Do not destroy weeds at budbreak because this will drive cutworms onto vines.

Cutworm feeds
Cutworm feeds at night on a bud

Cutworm damage to bud
Cutworm damage to bud

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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