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Pest Information

Potato leafhopper

Potato leafhopper

  • Latin Name: Empoasca fabae
  • Common Name: Potato leafhopper
  • Other Names: N/A

Pest Details

Potato leafhopper

Origin:

The leafhopper is native to the eastern half of North America.

Biology:

Despite its common name this species feeds on over 200 different kinds of plants, including crops and ornamentals. The list includes row crops, annual bedding plants, fruit trees, and shrubs. Feeding is primarily on the underside of the leaf, and as the nymphs and adults feed they inject a toxin back into the plant that causes yellowing and stunted growth of the foliage. The discoloration begins at the leaf tip and margins and increases in size until the leaf finally dies. The insects spend the winter in warm areas along the Gulf Coast states, migrating north once the weather warms. Females insert their eggs into the plant tissues, several eggs per day for a month. There may be up to 4 generations per year in warmer climates.

Identification:

The adult insect is only about 1/8 inch long, green with yellow or whitish spots on the thorax and head, and with fully developed wings that are held roof-like over the abdomen. The wings are relatively clear and the body can be seen through them. The hind legs are extremely long for jumping and they are lined with sharp spines.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Control can be effective with foliar sprays if the undersides of the leaves can be contacted. A systemic insecticide applied to the soil may be more effective as it moves the active ingredient into the foliage where it is ingested as the hoppers feed. Timing is important, and should concentrate on the arrival of the insects in your area.

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