Sharpshooter

Subject: Is this a dangerous bug?
Location: Orange County California
June 22, 2016 8:39 pm
Hey there,
You probably won’t remember as it was many years ago but we actually met you at an art conference in Pasadena, I was presenting a paper on beauty for my MFA in photography at SPE and you were in one of the seminars & we got to chatting w/my husband… Anyhow, I’m glad to see you site is still going strong and I actually have a bed related question.
Do you know what the guy in my pictures is? They’ve been living on my stephanotis jasmine forever & now one is visiting my new passiflora lady Margaret. From what I can tell he hasn’t harmed the jasmine at all, just sorta sits there..sheds once in a while but I’ve seen no holes in leaves or dead leaves w/evidence of bug bites or anything, and the flowers bloom happily, etc. is it any risk to Passion flowers? My passiflora Edulis has lived nearby for over a year & I see no bug damage to that plant from him either..
Someone did mention it could be a type of sharpshooter bug which can be dangerous to some plants like grape growers deal with, I do have the edible passionflower and I don’t want to lose that or any of my other plants like orchids, mold, multiple jasmine varieties, tomatoes, and a lemon tree. Is this guy dangerous to any of that? And if so, how do I get rid of it in a natural way? Thanks in advance 🙂 take care
Signature: Ioana

Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter

Hi Ioana,
How nice to hear from you.  That SPE conference on Beauty was many years ago.  This is some species of Leafhopper known as a Sharpshooter, and they are insects with mouths designed to pierce and suck nourishment, and in their case it is nourishment from the young shoots on your plants.  Many Leafhoppers and Treehoppers spread viral or bacterial infections from plant to plant while feeding.  This might be a Glassy Winged Sharpshooter based on this BugGuide image and according to BugGuide, it is “A major vector of Pierce’s disease on grape. Usually not a serious pest within its native range, southeastern US. This species was accidentally introduced into so. California in the early 1990s, probably with ornamental or agricultural stock. There, it has become a serious threat to viticulture.  The biggest problem is that it can spread the disease-causing bacterium
Xylella fastidiosa.”  We would not want to eliminate the possibility that it is a member of another genus of Sharpshooters, like Oncometopia, also pictured on BugGuide.

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