Impact of a screen barrier on dispersion behavior of Homalodisca coagulata (Hemiptera : Cicadellidae)
The recent incursion of the sharpshooter Homalodisca coagulata (Say) (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), a vector of the plant pathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, into southern California has caused new epidemics of plant diseases. The potential of H. coagulata to spread throughout the state and disseminate disease has encouraged the development of techniques to limit further spread of the vector and to manage disease epidemics where the insect already exists. We evaluated a unique tactic to curtail the immigration of H. coagulata into high-value crops, including nursery stock, where they can be spread via commercial transportation throughout the state and into disease-susceptible vineyards. This tactic consists of a 5-m-high screen barrier surrounding the crop that is impenetrable to H. coagulata. We examined H. coagulata orientation and flight direction when placed near or on the screen barrier, and determined the proportion of insects that flew over it. When released midway between a barrier and adjacent vegetation 71.5% of H. coagulata flew away from the barrier and in the direction of the vegetation; whereas 29.5% flew in the direction of the barrier. Of the total number of H. coagulata released, 7.5% flew over the barrier. When placed on the barrier, H. coagulata generally climbed up an average of 1.16 m before flying away from the structure. Of the total number of H. coagulata placed on the barrier, 6% flew over it. These results suggest that a screen barrier can be a part of a management strategy to reduce number of H. coagulata in high-value crops.