Timing the Implementation of Cultural Practices for Spissistilus festinus (Hemiptera: Membracidae) in California Vineyards Using a Stage-Structured Degree-Day Model.J Econ Entomol. 2020 10 16; 113(5):2558-2562.JE
The three-cornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistilus festinus (Say), was shown to transmit Grapevine red blotch virus (GRBV), the causative agent for Grapevine red blotch disease, in a greenhouse study on grapes. GRBV is a major concern of wine grape growers due to its economic impact on wine quality. Plants in the family Fabaceae are preferred hosts of S. festinus and are commonly planted as cover crops or present in a vineyard's native vegetation. In late winter, during grapevine dormancy, S. festinus migrate into vineyards to feed and reproduce on these cover crop and weed hosts. Tilling vineyard floor vegetation provides growers an opportunity to disrupt the life cycle of early instars that are relatively immobile, reducing the S. festinus first-generation population. Nymphal presence is difficult to detect. First through third instars were not detected in sweep net samples in a 2-yr weekly sampling study, whereas fourth and fifth instars were first found on the same sample date as emerging adults. A degree-day model was developed and successfully predicted when early S. festinus instars are present in the vineyard to aid in exploiting the time period when S. festinus is most susceptible to cultural control measures.