WSU Extension

Hortsense

Common Insects & Mites : Leafhoppers
(revision date: 4/30/2013)


Biology
Leafhoppers are sucking pests related to aphids. They can be quite colorful, but this is lost on their small size (up to about 1/4 inch). As implied by their name, these insects can jump and both nymphs and adults react quickly to disturbances. Leafhoppers are sap feeders on a wide variety of plants. Their feeding damage is characterized by a white to yellow stippling or flecking or small chlorotic rosettes on the upper surfaces of the leaves. Usually damage starts out and concentrates near the midrib of the leaf. In some plants such as maple, the leaves suffer a scorch-like condition where the leaves become parchment-like in texture particularly during drought years. This can happen even when only a few leafhoppers are present.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Encourage natural enemies such as parasitic wasps.
  • Hosing will work to some extent, but only on the wingless nymphs.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Insecticide applications may be useful in certain situations. However, their use should be limited as they may kill pollinators such as bees. If you choose to apply an insecticide, make certain that the product that you purchase is labeled for the target host and that it is effective against leafhoppers. Carefully read and follow all label instructions.

Images
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Caption: Maple leafhoppers
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli
Caption: Leafhoppers and damage on apple
Photo by: E.H. Beers
Caption: Leafhopper
Photo by: E.H. Beers