In 2000, a severe outbreak of phytoplasma-caused disease in Limonium spp. flowers devastated the industry in Israel; insecticides were not able to knock down and kill leafhopper vectors before they could transmit the pathogen. Nonchoice laboratory studies were conducted to determine the effect of UV-absorbing plastics on the movement of leafhoppers toward light; UV-absorbing plastic significantly reduced leafhopper movement. In choice trials conducted in sunlight, significantly more leafhoppers moved into the cage covered with regular plastic as opposed to the cage covered with UV-absorbing plastic. Field studies were conducted to determine at what height leafhoppers enter 2.5–3-m high walk-in tunnels; the majority enter the tunnels low to the ground, up to 1 m. Finally, field studies were conduced to compare leafhopper population levels in walk-in tunnels covered with UV-absorbing plastic or screening, and with ventilation holes at different heights above the ground. Elevated ventilation holes and UV-absorbing tunnel covering significantly reduced Orosius orientalis entrance into tunnels. Ramifications of these finding for leafhopper control are discussed.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4