Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, which was found in Sierra Vista, Ariz., last year, is back and stands to cause harm to key portions of Arizona’s agriculture industry. Now, Governor Janet Napolitano has declared a state of emergency, which will infuse this program with $200,000 in an effort to trap and eradicate the pest.

“I recognize this pest has the ability to do considerable harm to our agriculture industry within the state,” says Napolitano. “These monies will allow us to protect key agricultural industries and the livelihood of farmers around Arizona.”

The Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is the primary carrier of Pierce’s Disease, an infection of the grapevine that has no cure and has the potential to wipe out the $18 million wine growing industry here in Arizona. In addition, the pest stands to threaten one of Arizona’s key landscaping ornamentals – the oleander as well as citrus and nut crops.

How many Glassy Winged Sharphshooters have been found?

• A male and female were first detected in Sierra Vista in August of 2005 in a trap that was set out as part of more than 800 traps throughout the state to monitor this pest.

Now, the problem is back as the Arizona Department of Agriculture has found 22 additional adults in a three-mile square region in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

How will the $200,000 be used?

• Beginning soon, agricultural inspectors will place thousands of traps around the state and begin looking for egg masses to further determine the size of the infestation and better prepare for control programs.

Eradication efforts will begin. Commercial contractors will be called in with special equipment to reach into the tops of trees and fully treat host plants.

• Begin checking for the pest around the state, through trapping.

What is the history and biology of this pest?

The glassy-winged sharpshooter is native to the southeastern United States. It was first found in California in 1990 and has threatened many of the vineyards in that region. This leafhopper is a large insect, almost a half-inch in length. It is a dark brown to black. Its head is stippled with either ivory or yellowish spots. It receives its name from the transparent portions of the front wings. The glassy-winged sharpshooter can fly up to one-quarter of a mile, and it frequently appears in high numbers. The insect is able to survive winter temperatures dipping as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The insect over-winters as an adult. It begins laying egg masses from late February through May. The year’s first generation matures as adults from May through August. The year’s second generation begins as egg masses laid from June through September. It is this generation that produces the next year’s offspring.