The US$18m Arizona wine industry could be under threat from a species of insect found in a plant nursery in the state. Agricultural inspectors found glassy-winged sharpshooters, the primary carrier of an incurable vine infection called Pierce's disease, in the Sierra Vista area.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Agriculture said inspectors have found eight adult sharpshooters in traps and two egg clusters in a one-square-mile area around the nursery. The inspectors have not yet tested the sharpshooters for Pierce's disease but said the objective was to eliminate them from the area, regardless of whether they were carrying the disease or not.

Pierce's disease devastated some 14,000 acres of vineyards in southern California in 1999.