With spring in full swing, the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter, an insect that carries grapevine-killing Pierce's disease, has again made an appearance in Northern California.
This time, already-hatched egg masses and nymphs have been discovered in Vacaville, around 14 miles from vineyards in the western part of Solano County and southeastern Napa County. The same area was declared infested by the vineyard pest last year.
Solano County agricultural commissioner Susan Cohen said the finds came as no big surprise to local officials. "We've been keeping a close eye on the area since our initial finds last June, and we fully expected to see some activity this year," Cohen said.
An agriculture department aide found the first two egg masses on May 9 on a crape myrtle behind the Vacaville Wal-Mart. "Crape myrtle is a preferred host for the glassy-winged sharpshooter," Cohen said.
On May 10, aides discovered four more egg masses and two live nymphs in the same area. "At this point," said Cohen, "we are looking for more sharpshooters and addressing the issue of removing more foliage and spraying."
While Napa vintners have reason to be worried about the recent increase in sharpshooter findings in Northern California, Napa County agricultural commissioner Dave Whitmer said, "I have confidence in Susan [Cohen] and Solano County and the way that they have responded to this. Everybody who's involved in this thing understands the significant risks involved in the county of Napa."