(Sept. 16) BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Central California’s ample grape and citrus supplies aren’t likely to fall victim to the glassy-winged sharpshooter or the Pierce’s disease it carries this year, say Kern and Tulare county officials.

Growers have turned to a new treatment that is taming the nuisance.

California crops, particularly citrus and grapes, are threatened by both Pierce’s disease and the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The disease causes leaf scorch on grape vines, and the sharpshooter deposits its egg masses in the rind of citrus, which leaves the fruit unmarketable.

Central California appears to have a handle on the crop-threatening insect and its disease, according to a task force made up of representatives from county agriculture commissioners’ offices and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Growers have found success in limiting sharpshooter populations by applying Admire pesticide to infested groves and vineyards. Admire, from Bayer Corp., Pittsburgh, is permitted under U.S. Department of Agriculture rules for areas that were found to be infested earlier in the year, according to the task force newsletter.

The presence of the pest in southern Tulare County was “extraordinarily high a year ago but is lower now,” said Judy Stewart-Leslie, a coordinator with Tulare County.

“This year it has really cleaned up,” she said.

Last year 40,000 acres of citrus were treated for the glassy-winged sharpshooter, and 18,700 acres have been treated through mid-September of this year, Stewart-Leslie said.

The state and companion counties are focused on reducing the pest population, not eliminating it.