This is the 1/2-inch long glassy-winged sharpshooter, a pest that spreads a disease that could decimate the state's grape crops. "The glassy-winged sharpshooter, with its ability to spread Pierce's disease, poses a very serious threat to viticulture throughout California," according to Ed Weber, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Napa County. "It has the potential to take what has been a localized disease problem and spread it across entire viticultural regions."
Pierce's disease, first discovered in the late 1800s, has caused millions of dollars in damage to the state's vineyards. The disease is caused by bacteria that choke off the plants' water and nutrient supplies. Scientists have long known that the disease-causing organism is transmitted to grapevines by blue-green sharpshooters. More recently, however, the glassy-winged sharpshooter emerged as a more formidable threat because of its wide host range and ability to spread rapidly. The new pest has severely affected grapevines in the Temecula area of Riverside County.
You can help stop this pest from spreading into Northern California. Be especially alert for glassy winged sharpshooters on any new plants you may buy, especially any pests on ornamental plants grown in Southern California which may have "hitchhiked" up the state. If you suspect you may have one, put it in a glass or clear plastic container and take it to your local cooperative extension office for a positive identification.
For more information about the glassy-winged sharpshooter, click here.