Degree-day-based model to predict egg hatching of Philaenus spumarius (Hemiptera: Aphrophoridae), the main vector of Xylella fastidiosa in Europe

Lago, Clara; Giménez-Romero, Àlex; Morente, Marina; Matías, Manuel A.; Moreno, Aránzazu; Fereres, Alberto
Environmental Entomology 52, 350–359 (2023)

Philaenus spumarius L., the main vector of Xylella fastidiosa (Wells) in Europe, is a univoltine
species that overwinters in the egg stage, and its nymphs emerge in late winter or spring. Predicting
the time of egg hatching is essential for determining the precise times for deploying control strategies
against insect pests. Here, we monitored P. spumarius eggs from oviposition to egg hatching together
with the daily temperatures and relative humidities at four field locations that were located at different
altitudes in central Spain. The collected data were used to build a growing degree day (GDD) model to
forecast egg hatching in the Iberian Peninsula. The GDDs needed for hatching were in the range of
197-331. Moreover, we found that humidity is a critical factor that regulates egg hatching in P.
spumarius. Furthermore, the model was validated with field observations that were conducted in the
Iberian Peninsula, which suggested that oviposition is dependent on latitude and occurs later in the
southern part of the Iberian Peninsula than in the north. The model was then used as a decision-
support tool to calculate the optimum timing for applying control actions against P. spumarius. Our
results suggest that controlling nymphs at two different dates would target the highest percentages of
nymphal populations present in the field. Our model represents a first step for predicting the
emergence of nymphs and to adopt timely control actions against P. spumarius. These actions could
limit disease spread in areas where X. fastidiosa is present.

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