What’s eating my vines?

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Feb 25, 2019
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Eastern Tennessee
What’s doing this to the shoots? It looks like a dark ring around the shoot and usually the upper part is still partly attached. Traminette grapes located in east Tenn.23834E52-AF30-4643-8D41-E33661677644.jpeg
A picture in focus would definitely be helpful. From your description it sounds like grape cane girdlers. I had a bunch of them last year in Virginia and have seen evidence of a few this year.
Likewise here in Maryland, they were active last year on my 3 years old cane prune/SVP vines. The damage was not at a volume that was alarming, just a PIA for the occasional shoot they would saw.

Invariably the sawn shoot would throw out a lateral below the cut, and after some regrowth I would retie the shoot-- with upward growth continuing just fine, if mis-shapen. I noticed in March during pruning that some of those shoots ended up as a fruiting cane on some of this years vines and seem none the worse for wear.

To confirm that is the grape cane girdler, keep an eye out for small black beetle-like bugs, about 2 or 3 mm long. I did not spray against them last year and hope to avoid it again this year. From what I've read, they mainly hit young grapevines. Some suggest that 10% damage is considered a threshold for doing a spray.
Here are examples from my vineyard last year. They take the tips of the shoots, leaving them semi-attached. I’ve not seen them go after the base.

Here are what the telltale signs of grape cane girdlers look like:



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