County of Marin - News Releases - Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter

For Immediate Release
March 04, 2015

Destructive Insect Discovered in Marin

Single specimen of glassy-winged sharpshooter found during routine inspection

Novato, CA – A destructive insect that sucks the fluids out of plants and can wreak horticultural havoc in agricultural areas was recently found in Marin County during a routine inspection of a nursery shipment from Ventura County.

A close-up view of a glassy-winged sharpshooterAgricultural Commissioner Stacy Carlsen said a Senior Agricultural Program Assistant with the Marin County Department of Agriculture captured an adult glassy-winged sharpshooter on February 26 while checking an incoming plant shipment. The species damages a wide variety of plants and spreads lethal diseases to crops such as almonds and grapes for which there are no known cures.

“This is an extremely serious insect pest we need to continue to keep out of Marin County and the Bay Area,” Carlsen said. “The potential damage to our landscape plants, gardens and environment is significant.”

An adult glassy-winged sharpshooter can drain 200 to 300 times its bodyweight in water every day, the equivalent of a 150-pound adult drinking about 4,300 gallons of water per day. A tree heavily infested with the insect can lose up to 10 to 15 gallons of life-giving fluids per day, requiring a significant increase in irrigation to keep plants healthy.

“This is especially concerning when we remain in a serious drought,” Carlsen said.

Glassy-winged sharpshooters are known to feed on more than 300 varieties of plants, including widely used landscape plants, fruits and vegetables.

The adult specimen was hand-delivered to the California Department of Food and Agriculture entomology laboratory, where it was officially identified. All plants in the shipment from Ventura County were immediately returned to the origin shipper.

The Marin County Department of Agriculture is committed to preventing the infestation of this serious pest into the county. Carlsen said local nurseries are cooperative in notifying his department about plant material received from areas infested with glassy-winged sharpshooters. “Their support and cooperation has been critical to the ongoing success of our program,” Carlsen said.

The nursery that received the plant shipment was purposely not disclosed to protect the nursery from any potential unwanted attention.

Anyone who suspects to have found a glassy-winged sharpshooter is asked to call 415-473-6700 as soon as possible or contact the Marin County Farm Advisor UC Cooperative Extension at 415-473-4204. Specimens can be brought to the Department of Agriculture or the Farm Advisor UC Cooperative Extension at 1682 Novato Boulevard, Novato, during regular office hours.

Visit the following websites for more information:


Stacy Carlsen
Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures

1682 Novato Blvd.
Suite 150-A
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 473-6700
Email: Stacy Carlsen
AWM website