Researchers make the first steps for a model to calculate the optimum timing for applying control actions against Philaenus spumarius nymphs, thus hindering the X. fastidiosa spread. The spittlebug P. spumarius is the primary vector of X. fastidiosa in Europe, enabling the pathogen to propagate from sick to healthy plants. After the publication last spring, Alberto Fereres from ICA_CSIC, one of the task leaders of the BeXyl Project, presented the study at the 4th European Conference on Xylella fastidiosa.
First, the researchers collected data to build a growing degree day (GDD) model to forecast the insect’s egg hatching in the Iberian Peninsula. Then, they validated the model with field observations in different regions of Spain. Finally, they used it as a decision-support tool to calculate the optimum timing for applying control actions against P. spumarius nymphs. The findings suggest that controlling nymphs at two different dates would target the highest percentages of nymphal populations in the field and represent the first step to building a model for X. fastidiosa vector population control.