AbstractPear decline, induced by the phytoplasma 'Candidatus Phytoplasma pyri', transmitted by pear psyllids, is one of the most devastating diseases on Pyrus communis in Europe and North America. Investigations of pear psyllids in 4 pear orchards in lower Austria showed the presence of Cacopsylla pyri, C. pyricola and C. pyrisuga at all locations. PCR analyses revealed overall phytoplasma infection rates for C. pyri of 5.4%, for C. pyricola, of 4.6%, for C. pyrisuga remigrants of 9.6% and for C. pyrisuga emigrants of 0%. The rates of PCR-positive C. pyri and C. pyricola individuals varied greatly in the course of the year, and the highest infection rates were observed in late summer, autumn and in late winter. In transmission experiments with healthy pear seedlings, winterform individuals of C. pyri and C. pyricola transmitted the pathogen to 19.2% (5 out of 26) and 4.8% (2 out of 41) of the test plants, respectively. The vectoring ability of C. pyrisuga was experimentally proven for the first time, and in transmission experiments with remigrants, 9.5% (2 out of 21) of the pear seedlings were infected. Our data indicate a significant risk of pathogen transmission in pear orchards during the greater part of the year, especially in late winter, early spring and autumn. Multilocus sequence analysis by aid of the genes aceF and imp allowed the discrimination between 15 phytoplasma types. Three so far undescribed aceF genotypes and four undescribed imp genotypes were identified.