Leafhoppers

    Leafhoppers

    Cicadellidae

    leafhopper

    Adult leafhopper (David Cappaert, Bugwood.org)

    immature leafhopper

    Potato leafhopper nymph (Frank Peairs, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

    leafhopper damage

    Western grape leafhopper damage (Eugene E. Nelson, Bugwood.org)

    Pest Description

    • adults: ~ 1/8 – 5/8 inch; wings held tentlike over the back; one to two rows of spines on hind legs
    • many are whitish to light green; coloration highly variable including reds, browns and patterns
    • nymphs: smaller than adults, typically lime green in color; wings absent but wing buds present

    Host Plants, Diet & Damage

    • apple, birch, cherry, cottonwood, dogwood, elm, grape, hawthorn, honeylocust, linden, oak, poplar, red maple, sumac, Virginia creeper, willow and other ornamentals
    • feed on sap from leaf cells
    • white to yellow stippling/flecking on tops of leaves
    • hopper burn: yellowing, browning, stunting, leaf curling
    • some transmit plant diseases

    Biology, Life Cycle & Damaging Life Stage

    • overwinter as eggs inserted into or on plant tissue or as adults
    • eggs hatch in spring and nymphs begin feeding
    • overlapping life stages present during summer
    • two or more generations per year
    • nymphs and adults are the damaging stages

    IPM Recommendations

    • Manage trees and shrubs to improve or maintain overall health.
    • Monitor the undersides of leaves for leafhopper adults and nymphs.
    • Insecticide applications are not typically needed for leafhoppers and may have varying efficacy.
    • Apply insecticidal oils or soaps to undersides of leaves to control nymphs.
    • Apply an insecticide (azadirachtin; carbamate; pyrethroid; systemic neonicitinoid) when nymphs or adults are present.

    For more information, see our Leafhoppers in the Home Garden fact sheet.