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Leafhoppers

Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Arthropoda 
Class: Insecta 
Order: Hemiptera 
Family: Cicadellidae 

Leafhopper General Information    Potato Leafhopper    Beet Leafhopper    White Apple Leafhopper    

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter    Six Spotted Leafhopper    Aster Leafhopper    Virginia Creeper Leafhopper 

Talstar One is labeled for spraying shrubs, etc. for leafhoppers.

Leafhoppers, or hoppers, are found all over the world.  They get their name from their hopping behavior.  Leafhoppers come in a variety of colors, depending on the species.  They are related to treehoppers, cicadas and spittlebugs.  

Nymph and adult leafhoppers feed by puncturing the undersides of leaves and suck the sap out with their piercing mouthparts.  This causes the leaf to curl, turn brown and possibly fall off the plant.  During sucking, leafhoppers inject a toxin known as "hopper burn".  The toxin yellows the tissues of the leaf causing the leaf to eventually fall off.  They also transmit a variety of viruses and bacteria to the plants they feed upon.
Leafhoppers overwinter as adults and emerge in late spring.  Females lay eggs on the underside of leaves.  During her lifespan, about 30 days, she can produce one to six eggs daily. 

There are several leafhoppers found throughout North America that are considered to be agricultural pests. 

The Potato Leafhopper is a pale green wedge shaped insect.  Adults have wings while nymphs don't.  They are so small that they usually remain unnoticed until plants start showing the hopper burn.  The potato leafhopper winters in the Gulf States and migrates north in the spring infecting alfalfa plants and clover.  During growing season they are found in North Carolina in abundance on peanuts, hay and pasture crops. 


The Beet Leafhopper is longer and has a thinner build than other leafhoppers.  They are found in the United States, Mexico and South Africa.  Beet Leafhoppers feed and infect tobacco plants, chili pepper plants and eggplants. They are repelled by marigolds, petunias and geraniums.
The Beet Leafhopper transmits the "curly top virus" to tomatoes, beans, peppers, spinach and beets causing the leaves to dwarf, crinkle, roll inward and cup upward.  It also causes the veins of the leaf to swell and turn purple.   Once the beet leafhopper acquires the curly top virus, it spreads the disease to other plants.  The tomato plant is not a preferred host plant, but it will contract the virus when the leafhopper samples the plants. 


The White Apple Leafhopper feeds primarily on apple trees.  Adults are 1/8 inch long and white.  Nymphs are whitish green and wingless.  They overwinter in the bark of young trees and hatch in early June.  Adults lay eggs in the veins of the leaves and a second generation hatch in August.  The white apple leafhopper only attacks the leaves of the apple tree, refraining from the fruit and leaving white spots on the leaves they feed on.  They are similar to the Potato Leafhoppers in appearance but can be distinguished by the way they walk.  The white apple leafhopper walks front and backwards while the potato leafhopper walks sideways. 
While feeding, the white apple leafhopper will excrete honeydew which may drop to lower leaves and on fruit.  During humid seasons, the honeydew does not dry out, but remains moist creating suitable conditions for sooty mold to grow. 


Leafhopper: Glassy Winged Sharpshooter The Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is a leafhopper that feeds upon 70 different plant species.  They are dark brown to black with yellow and black belly and have yellow eyes.  Their head has ivory and yellow spots and they have reddish 
transparent wings.  Glassy Winged Sharpshooters also have rows of spines on their hind legs.
Females lay their eggs under leaves and cover them with a powdery white substance that leaves a brown mark on the surface of the leaf after the nymphs have hatched.  Nymphs feed near where they hatched and go through several molts before becoming adults.
The glassy winged sharpshooter feeds on grapes, citrus trees, almond, stone fruit and oleanders.  When feeding, they excrete "leafhopper rain" or small droplets of waste that lands on plants giving them a whitewashed look. 
The glassy winged sharpshooter transmits the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium that is linked to phony peach disease, oleander leaf scorch and pierce's disease. 

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is one of the common Florida grape pests.


Six Spotted Leafhopper, Aster Leafhopper The Six Spotted Leafhopper is also known as the Aster Leafhopper because it transmits the aster yellow virus that causes stunted growth and foliage to turn yellow.  This insect is greenish yellow with six black spots.  Nymphs range from yellow to light brown and pale greenish to gray.  They are found from Mexico to Alaska during growing seasons in grasslands, swamps and dry prairies and also migrate north during the spring. The Six Spotted Leafhopper attacks fruits, herbs, grasses, weeds and a wide variety of vegetables such as lettuce, celery, carrots, parsnips, parsley, dill, onions, shallots, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet corn. 


Virginia Creeper Leafhopper The Virginia Creeper Leafhopper is 1/8 inches long and has three species that come in different colors.  E. comes is a pale yellow insect with yellow, red and blue markings; E. tricincta is brown and black with orange on its wings; E. 
ziczac is pale yellowish or white with a zigzag stripe down each wing and red veins. 
The Virginia Creeper Leafhopper over winters in old plants.  Come spring, they feed on a variety of foliage until grape leave appear.  Females deposit her eggs on the leaves and they hatch after two weeks.  Nymphs are wingless and feed where they hatch.  They molt five times before becoming adults.  The feeding of nymph and adult Virginia Creeper leafhoppers causes white blotches on the leaves.  Heavy infestations cause the leaves to turn yellow and brown and fall off.  They also excrete sticky honeydew that is prone to sooty mold growth.
 

Credits:
Our thanks to Lani Powell for research and writing which 
made this information page possible!

Leafhopper General Information    Potato Leafhopper    Beet Leafhopper    White Apple Leafhopper    

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter    Six Spotted Leafhopper    Aster Leafhopper    Virginia Creeper Leafhopper