Yellow sticky traps were placed in six vineyards in central Texas from 2003 to 2006 and in locations outside the vineyards in 2004–2006. In total, 72 collections on 55 dates were examined. Xylem fluid-feeding insects were removed and identified to species and then analyzed by polymerase chain reaction to determine the presence or absence of Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al. Of the 1318 insects removed, 13 species were found, dominated by Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), Clastoptera xanthocepahala Germar, and Graphocephala versuta (Say). Insects testing positive for X. fastidiosa were analyzed further using fluorescence resonance energy transfer probes to determine the genotype of the bacterium, which fell into four groups: subspecies fastidiosa, multiplex, sandyi, and unknown subspecies. Vineyards known to be affected by Pierce's disease had more insects that were contaminated by the bacterium than those that were not as affected. X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa, the causative agent of Pierce's disease, was found more commonly in insects collected from vineyards than from insects collected outside the vineyards. Conversely, the subspecies multiplex and sandyi, which are not known to cause disease in grape, were more commonly found in insects collected outside the vineyard. The percentage of individuals contaminated with the bacterium increased over the course of the growing season, and the data suggest that vector insects acquired X. fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa from infected grapevines, a necessary precursor for vine to vine transmission to occur. Management options, including the use of systemic insecticides and plant roguing, would be effective for this type of transmission model.
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Vol. 102 • No. 5