Sharpshooter Discovered in Napa
The discovery of an adult glassy-winged sharpshooter at a Napa Valley nursery is causing serious concern in the local wine industry. As reported by the St. Helena Star, the insect was found on February 22nd, in a group of plants from Orange County.
This is the first official sighting of an adult glassy-winged sharpshooter in Napa County. The pest has previously been found along the Highway 80 corridor in Solano County, and ravaged Temecula’s wine industry during the 1990s.
The glassy-winged sharpshooter carries Pierce’s Disease, a virus that is deadly to grape vines as well as several other agricultural goods. Pierce’s Disease was long carried by the blue-green sharpshooter, a much feebler insect than its robust cousin. The glassy-winged sharpshooter is about a half inch long, and is capable of flying several miles in a day.
Napa Valley’s wine industry is not taking this finding lightly, and agriculture departments on the county, state, and federal level have sprung into action to investigate and quarantine if necessary.
It should be noted, however, that the glassy-winged sharpshooter cannot fly when the temperature is lower than 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, and the high for the day was 53 degrees. The adult was found early in the morning, and was not moving because of the low temperature. Hopefully no others escaped before the day warmed up.
Dave Whitmer, Napa County’s Agriculture Commissioner, is especially concerned with the discovery because the plants were from a nursery certified as non-infested. “It raises a warning flag to begin with in our regulatory system. You would not expect an adult glassy-winged sharpshooter to be moving on nursery stock from a nursery designated as non-infested,” Whitmer remarked.