Leafhoppers Identification, Damage, and Management



What Do Leafhoppers Look Like?

The exact number of leafhopper species is unknown but it may be more than 100,000.  The common leafhoppers that are agricultural pests are the potato, beet, white apple, two-spotted, and glassy-winged leafhopper.

Potato leafhopper. This species is about 1/8” long, is pale green and wedge shaped.

Beet leafhopper. This species is only .125” long and is pale green, gray, or brown in color.

White apple leafhopper. This species is light yellow with a slightly darker head.

Two-spotted leafhopper.  This species is about ¼” long, pale yellow with a dark stripe down the center of the back.  Each wing has an eyespot.

Glassy-winged leafhopper. This species is about ½” long, dark brown in color with translucent wings with red veins.

How Long Do Leafhopper Live?

Leafhoppers live for one-two months.

How Do I Know If I Have Leafhoppers?

There are several telltale signs that Leafhoppers may be attacking your plants.  Here’s what to look for.

  • Infected plants.  Leafhoppers are primarily carriers of plant pathogens.
  • Stippled, curled, or brown leaves.  This insects feeding can cause direct damage to the food source.
  • Chlorosis.  The feeding of the leafhopper may cause yellowing of leaves due to a lack of chlorophyll.

How to Get Rid of Leafhoppers

High population of leafhoppers may require some sort of direct chemical control.

Can I Get Rid of Leafhoppers Naturally?

Parasitic Control.  Insects can be used to parasitize leafhoppers  including Anagrus epos and Angrus spp.

Natural enemies. Leafhoppers have many natural enemies including spiders, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, lady beetles, and predaceous mites.

Cultural Control. Removing weeds and underbrush from surrounding plants will help to reduce populations.

Organic Methods.  Though not impressively effective, oils, insecticidal soaps, or kaolin clay can be attempted in the nymph stage.


Can I Prevent Leafhoppers?

Row covers are probably the most effective method of preventing leafhoppers.

Reflective mulch has been shown to discourage leafhopper infestation.

Cultivation.  Cultivation and clean up in the fall will discourage leafhoppers from overwintering in the area.

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