Leafhoppers Transmit Deadly Grapevine Disease in Italy

The grapevine disease Flavescence dorée has been called “catastrophic.” Impacts include yield reductions, and reduced wine quality. The disease spreads rapidly and can affect 80-100% of the vines in a few years. The disease is spread by leafhoppers who acquire the organism while feeding on infected plants and then spread the disease when they feed on healthy plants. Spraying to control the leafhopper is mandatory in regions where the disease is known to exist.

“The leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus Ball (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) is a serious pest of grapevines in Europe as it transmits the phytoplasmas of Flavenscence dorée (FD). … the eggs start to hatch in the middle of May, and nymphs can be found until the middle of July… The adults are present from the end of June until the middle of October.”

“Nymphs from the third instar onward acquire phytoplasmas by piercing the leaves and stems of infected grapevines. After a latency period of 4-5 weeks, during which time they become adults, they can transmit FD phytoplasmas to healthy grapevines. In Italy, insecticide treatment against S. titanus are mandatory in the districts where FD is present. The active ingredients include neonicotinoids and organophosphates; in vineyards subject to organic farming S. titanus is controlled with pyrethrum.”

Authors: F. Lessio, E.B. Mondino and A. Alma
Affiliations: University of Turin, Grugliasco, Italy
Title: Spatial patters of Scaphoideus titanus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae): a geospatial and neural network approach.
Publication: International Journal of Pest Management. 2011. 57(3):205-216.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s