A survey of xylem fluid-feeding insects (Hemiptera) exhibiting potential for transmission of Xylella fastidiosa, the bacterium causing Pierce’s disease of grapevine, was conducted from 2004 to 2006 in the Hill Country grape growing region of central Texas. Nineteen insect species were collected from yellow sticky traps. Among these, two leafhoppers and one spittlebug comprised 94.57% of the xylem specialists caught in this region. Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), Graphocephala versuta (Say), and Clastoptera xanthocephala Germar trap catches varied significantly over time, with greatest counts usually recorded between May or June and August and among localities. A comparison of insect counts from traps placed inside and outside vineyards indicated that G. versuta is always more likely captured on the vegetation adjacent to the vineyard. C. xanthocephala was caught inside the vineyard during the summer. Between October and December, the natural habitat offers more suitable host plants, and insects were absent from the vineyards after the first freezes. H. vitripennis was caught in higher numbers inside the vineyards throughout the grape vegetative season. However, insects were also caught in the habitat near the affected crop throughout the year, and residual populations overwintering near vineyards were also recorded. This study shed new light on the fauna of xylem fluid-feeding insects of Texas. These results also provide critical information to vineyard managers for timely applications of insecticides before insect feeding and vectoring to susceptible grapevines.
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