How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Seasonal development and life cycle—Pierce's disease

Pierce's disease is a lethal disease of grapevines and is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. It is spread by certain kinds of leafhoppers known as sharpshooters. The green sharpshooter, Draeculacephala minerva, and the red-headed sharpshooter, Carneocephala fulgida, are the primary vectors in California's Central Valley. The blue-green sharpshooter, Graphocephala atropunctata, is the most prevalent in coastal regions such as the Napa Valley. A new large sharpshooter, the glassy-winged sharpshooter was introduced into California in the 1990's. It is now prevalent in southern California and parts of the San Joaquin Valley. It spreads Pierce's disease more effectively than the other sharpshooters.

Sharpshooters pick up the bacterium by feeding on symptomless plant hosts as well as infected grapes and transfer it to healthy grapes by feeding. Leaves become scorched and dwarfed, grapes may raisin, and overall vines become stunted and late in growth.

Early symptoms
Early symptoms
Green sharpshooter
Green sharpshooter

Red-headed adult
Red-headed adult

Blue-green adult
Blue-green adult

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/GARDEN/FRUIT/DISEASE/LIFECYCLE/lcpiercesdis.html revised: April 25, 2014. Contact webmaster.