How to Control Leafhoppers on Outdoor Plants: Effective Tips and Techniques

Leafhoppers are small, wedge-shaped insects that can cause damage to outdoor plants by feeding on the plant’s sap and spreading diseases. These pests are often found in lawns and gardens, affecting a variety of plants like carrots, celery, lettuce, and potatoes. One of the most common leafhoppers is the redbanded leafhopper, recognizable by its bright red and blue or green markings.

To control leafhoppers, it’s important to start by regularly monitoring your outdoor plants and identify potential infestations early. Look for signs such as yellowing or distorted leaves, which might indicate the presence of leafhoppers. Additionally, keep your garden tidy and free of weeds, as they can provide a hiding place for these pests.

In case of a leafhopper infestation, you can use various methods to control them. Some options include using insecticidal soaps or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which feed on leafhoppers. Chemical insecticides, such as lambda-cyhalothrin or deltamethrin, can also be applied to lawns and garden plants for effective control. However, always weigh the pros and cons of each method to determine the best approach for your specific situation.

Identifying Leafhoppers

Leafhopper Species

There are numerous species of leafhoppers found throughout landscapes, such as the rose leafhopper and the white apple leafhopper. They vary in size and coloration based on their species.

Life Cycle

Leafhoppers have a simple life cycle – from eggs to nymphs and then adults. Eggs hatch in about 10 days, and then nymphs grow into adults.

Color and Patterns

  • Colors: Leafhoppers are brown, gray, green, yellow, or a mix of coloration.
  • Patterns: Some have striking patterns, like the red-banded leafhopper.
Species Color
Red-banded Leafhopper Red and blue/green
Rose Leafhopper Pale-yellow to olive green

Leafhoppers display different colors and patterns depending on their species, making them easier to identify. The red-banded leafhopper, for example, has bright red and blue or green markings on its wings and thorax. The rose leafhopper, on the other hand, is pale-yellow to olive green in color. Adults and nymphs, as well as the pale cast skins of nymphs, can be identified based on their coloration and patterns.

Signs of Leafhopper Damage

Leaf Curling and Yellowing

Leafhopper damage is often first noticed as curling and yellowing of leaves. Affected leaves might show signs of hopper burn, which is the yellowing of the leaf margin.

  • Common in potatoes, beans, and roses
  • Fruit trees are also susceptible

These sap-sucking insects inject a toxin into the plant veins during feeding, causing the yellowing and curling appearance.

Stippling and Spotting

Another sign of leafhopper damage is stippling and spotting on foliage. This is due to the insects feeding on the plant sap.

  • Leaves might exhibit small whitish spots
  • Particularly visible on the upper side of leaves

Stippling is usually more of a cosmetic issue and doesn’t severely affect plant health.

Stunted Growth and Plant Deformities

Severe leafhopper infestations can lead to stunted growth and plant deformities.

  • Most commonly seen in potatoes
  • Potential deformities in beans

Though rarer than leaf curling and yellowing, severe leafhopper damage can lead to premature plant death.

Comparison Table

Sign of Leafhopper Damage Commonly Affected Plants Level of Impact on Plant Health
Leaf Curling and Yellowing Potatoes, Beans, Roses High
Stippling and Spotting Most plants Low (mostly cosmetic)
Stunted Growth and Deformities Potatoes High

Preventing and Controlling Infestations

Cultural Practices

To prevent and control leafhopper infestations, adopt good cultural practices. For example:

  • Maintain proper sanitation by keeping the garden free of debris and weeds
  • Monitor your plants regularly to catch early signs of infestations
  • Use floating row covers to physically protect plants from pests

These practices not only help in controlling leafhoppers but also prevent other pests from infesting your plants.

Biological Control

Biological control is an effective method to manage leafhopper populations. Key natural predators to consider include:

  • Ladybugs
  • Lacewings
  • Spiders
  • Parasitic wasps
  • Damsel bugs
  • Minute pirate bugs

These beneficial insects can be introduced or attracted to your garden in various ways:

  • Planting flowers or herbs that attract predatory insects
  • Avoiding broad-spectrum insecticides that may harm beneficial insects

Chemical Control

In cases where infestations are severe, chemical control may be necessary. Choose insecticides that are less harmful to pollinators and beneficial insects. Some options include:

  • Insecticidal soaps
  • Organic insecticidal soap
  • Pyrethrins
  • Neem oil
  • Diatomaceous earth

When using a chemical control, always follow product label instructions and apply in the early morning or late evening when pollinators are less active.

Pros and Cons of Chemical Control

Pros Cons
Quick and effective solution May harm beneficial insects and pollinators
Wide range of products available Overuse can lead to pest resistance
Can be used as a last resort Repeated application may be necessary

In conclusion, preventing and controlling leafhopper infestations can be achieved through a combination of cultural, biological, and chemical measures. Consider your specific situation and choose the most suitable approach to keep your plants healthy and pest-free.

Dealing with Particular Leafhopper Species

Potato Leafhopper

Potato leafhoppers can cause damage to potato plants, beans, and other crops. They lay eggs on stems and feed on sap, leading to leaf curling and discoloration. To control them, try:

  • Remove weeds: Clearing weeds around your crops can eliminate potential host plants.
  • Introduce predators: The introduction of natural predators, like green lacewing, can help manage the pest population.

Beet Leafhopper

Beet leafhoppers affect plants like beets and grapes, especially in the Cicadellidae family. Control strategies include:

  • Monitor host plants: Periodically check your beets and grapes for infestations.
  • Chemical control: Apply insecticides as needed, always following the instructions and recommendations on the label.

Aster Leafhopper

Aster leafhoppers are known to transmit Aster yellows disease. Some methods to control them are:

  • Sticky traps: These traps help monitor their population and remove adult leafhoppers.
  • Timed insecticides: Chemical control through timely insecticide applications may be effective against aster leafhoppers.

Two-Spotted Leafhopper

The two-spotted leafhopper feeds on a wide variety of plants and can lead to significant crop damage. Control options include:

  • Weed management: Reduce the number of host plants by keeping your surrounding area clear of weeds.
  • Encourage positive insects: Introducing natural predators like ladybugs or predatory mites can help control leafhopper populations.

Comparison Table

Leafhopper Species Known Host Plants Control Methods
Potato Leafhopper Potato, beans, and various crops Weed removal, introduction of natural predators
Beet Leafhopper Beets, grapes, and plants in the Cicadellidae family Monitoring, chemical control
Aster Leafhopper Plants susceptible to Aster yellows disease Sticky traps, timed insecticide applications
Two-Spotted Leafhopper Wide variety of plants, including vegetables and ornamental plants Weed management, encouragement of positive insects

Note: Always exercise caution and follow the label instructions when using chemicals to control pests. It is important to take the proper safety measures to protect yourself, your plants, and the environment.

Plant Damage and Disease

Beet Curly Top Virus

Leafhopper infestation can lead to serious damage in plants, such as the Beet Curly Top Virus. The virus affects ornamental plants, shrubs, and other garden varieties, causing stunted growth and distortion in leaves. It is commonly found in North America and can be devastating for both small gardens and commercial growers.

  • Stunting: Infected plants show a significant reduction in height.
  • Toxic saliva: Leafhoppers inject toxic saliva into the plant, causing the stunted growth.
  • Affected plants: Ornamental plants, shrubs, and various garden plants.

Aster Yellows

Aster yellows is another plant disease spread by leafhoppers. The bacteria responsible for this disease causes symptoms such as yellowing and dwarfing of plants, distorted foliage, and the abnormal production of shoots.

  • Stunting: The affected plants display a slowed growth and appear stunted.
  • Yellowing: Diseased plants often develop a yellow hue on their leaves.
  • Distorted foliage: Leaves may curl or become twisted, losing their original shape.
Disease Main Symptoms Damage
Beet Curly Top Virus Stunting, Toxic saliva Stunted growth, distortion in leaves
Aster Yellows Stunting, Yellowing, Distorted foliage Yellowing of leaves, dwarfing, abnormal shoot production

By understanding the different symptoms of these two diseases caused by leafhoppers, you can better monitor your plants and take appropriate action to protect them from these devastating infections.

Safe Gardening Practices

Protecting Pollinators and Beneficial Insects

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are essential for the health of your garden plants. To protect them, consider using natural pest control methods. For example, try introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to assist with controlling garden pests. Also, avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides, which can harm pollinators and other helpful insects.

Here are some features of pollinator-friendly gardening practices:

  • Planting a variety of flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs that attract pollinators
  • Providing a water source for pollinators
  • Creating a safe habitat by using nesting materials and shelter

Choosing the Right Control Method

Managing leafhoppers on your outdoor plants can be achieved using various control methods. The most appropriate method for your garden depends on factors such as the specific type of leafhopper, severity of the infestation, and your garden’s ecosystem. Two common control methods for leafhoppers are cultural control and biological control.

Cultural control involves creating an environment that discourages leafhopper infestations. Strategies include:

  • Regularly inspecting your garden plants for leafhopper presence and damage
  • Removing weeds, which can serve as hosts for leafhoppers
  • Employing proper watering and fertilization techniques to maintain healthy plants

Biological control focuses on introducing natural predators to help manage leafhoppers. Examples include:

  • Lady beetles
  • Lacewings
  • Parasitic wasps

Here’s a comparison table of the cultural and biological control methods:

Cultural Control Biological Control
Focus Environment Management Introducing Natural Predators
Pros Low-cost, Non-toxic Sustainable, Eco-friendly
Cons Time-consuming, Requires Monitoring May Have Limited Effectiveness

By adopting safe gardening practices, such as protecting pollinators and choosing the right control method, you can effectively manage leafhoppers while maintaining a healthy garden environment. Remember to keep your garden well-maintained and monitor plant health to help prevent infestations.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

leafhopper
I thought this was a good pic and your site says send one if you have a better one.
Barbara

Hi Barbara,
The Candystriped Leafhopper, or Red Banded Leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea, is such a beautiful insect. It is a shame it is so injurious to plants.

Letter 2 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Subject: Colorful bug!
Location: Northwest Ohio
June 30, 2014 10:04 am
Hi bugman! I live in Northwest Ohio, and I found this little beauty on my hydrangea. I found it a few weeks ago around the first week of June. Found your site and thought I’d ask if you know what it is! Look forward to hearing from you! Thank you so much!
Signature: Karli Thornton

Candystriped Leafhopper
Candystriped Leafhopper

Hi Karli,
The aptly named Candystriped Leafhopper,
Graphocephala coccinea, though lovely, is not a beneficial insect.  They have mouths designed for piercing plant tissue and sucking nourishing fluids from the plants.  Some Leafhoppers are also suspected of carrying viral infections from plant to plant. 

Thanks for the info!! Sad because it’s such a pretty bug..
Karli Thornton

Letter 3 – Common Jassid from Australia

 

Subject:  Black beetle on princess gums
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Victoria Australia
Date: 09/28/2021
Time: 09:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I cannot find a picture anywhere of this beetle .. four white spots on its back .. non on it’s head
How you want your letter signed:  corobin knox

Common Jassid

Dear Robin,
We believe we have correctly identified your Leafhopper (not Beetle) as a Common Jassid,
Eurymela fenestrata, thanks to the Brisbane Insect site where it states:  “Common Jassid is one of the largest size leafhopper in the Eurymelinae. We sometimes call them Large Gum-treehoppers, The adult is brown and dark violet under sunlight. There are some white spots on its wings. Nymph has the reddish-brown body with black markings. Gum-leafhopper sometimes called Jassid because they were classified as family Jassidae before, then now the family Cicadellidae.

Letter 4 – Costa Rican Homopteran and Brazilian Peanut Headed Bug

 

Strange Costa Rican Bug…
Here’s a mystery bug for you…. no one @ the lodges we visited or any of the nature guides (and we had several) that we utilized while on vacation in Costa Rica have been able to identify it, or had ever seen it before.. We encountered this bug in a small clearing in the rainforest at the tip of the Osa Peninsula, aprox 500ft above sea level. When I saw what I thought was a feather, I noticed this bug on the side of a tree. It was there with another of the same species. I figure they measured aprox 2 inches long (including plumage – for lack of a better term) and perhaps 1/3rd inch wide (including wings). Since we did not want to disturb them, we did not try to provoke them to take flight or to run away. We were able to get close enough for this picture, though. The plumage was very light in nature, as it swayed and moved a bit in a light breeze (we blew on it to see). Both bugs looked the same, and were about the same in all attributes. Although we have literally hundreds of pictures to go through, this seems to be the only picture we have of it. This was the only of this species that we saw the whole trip. Any ideas what it might be? Thanks,
~C~

Hi ~C~,
This is probably some species of Homopteran, the order that contains Hoppers, Cicadas and Aphids. Perhaps someonw will write in with something more specific. Here is Eric’s response: ” Daniel: You are correct about the Costa Rican insect being a Hemipteran, probably in the family Fulgoridae. Those are wax filaments coming out of its butt:-) I suggest you ask Dr. Andy Hamilton, a frequent visitor to Bugguide, for a more specific, and correct ID. He is in Canada, but has a website, affiliated with a university up there if I recall correctly. … Your’re doing great. Eric”

Chicharra Quetzal
(11/28/2006) Costa Rican Homopteran
Hi,
Regarding the home page photos titled Costa Rican Homopteran from 11/24/2006, I can’t add much except that it is known in southwestern Costa Rica as “Chicharra Quetzal,” and is certainly recognized by the locals there, if you ask the right ones. Also, my source agrees with Eric that it is indeed in the family Fulgoridae, as is the famous Peanut-head Bug or Lantern Bug. I’ve attached a photo of one from Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Brazil. At Cristalino we saw several fulgorids in the same group as the Costa Rican bug as well, but they were about 4 times bigger than the ones I’ve seen in Costa Rica. Somehow, I never managed to get a photo of one. Regards,
Rich
Richard C. Hoyer
Tucson, AZ

Hi Rich,
Thanks so much for the additional information and the wonderful image of a Lanternfly.

Letter 5 – Elyria Canyon Work Party: Weeding in the Milkweed Meadow

 

July 31, 2011
Each month, on the fourth Sunday of the month, the Mt Washington Beautification Committee, co-hosted by Clare Marter Kenyon and Daniel Marlos, meets at 9:30 AM near the Red Barn in Elyria Canyon State Park.  Clare takes the lead with native plant germination in the nursery and Daniel goes out weeding in areas that need special attention.  This month the weeds that were targeted were invasive Conyza and an unidentified yellow thistle type plant.  Daniel is especially concerned about invasive weeds crowding out the native milkweed.  Elizabeth is seen pulling weeds from around the milkweed. 

                            CLICK TO ENLARGE                         Elyria Canyon Work Party August 28, 2011

There is a wealth of insect life on the milkweed.  Daniel saw two Monarch caterpillars of approximately the same age.  They were on two different plants about ten feet apart.

Monarch Caterpillar 20110731 AM

Two different caterpillars were photographed in the morning, but in the afternoon, only the one feeding on the leaves was photographed.  The other Monarch Caterpillar was feeding on blossoms.  The detail that is missing from the live experience in the static photo is the twitching of the front fleshy pseudo-antennae.

Monarch Caterpillar 20110731 PM

While they were not plentiful, adult Large Milkweed Bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, were found singly or in pairs on the blossoms. 

Large Milkweed Bugs

One pair was caught In Flagrante Delicto.

Large Milkweed Bugs Mating

TO BE CONTINUED …

…  And the last of the insects found on the Indian Milkweed, Asclapias eriocarpa, were the yellow Milkweed Aphids.

Milkweed Aphids are tended by Argentine Sugar Ants

If you live in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mt Washington, or nearby Highland Park, Glassell Park, Eagle Rock, South Pasadena, Atwater Villiage or Silverlake, and you want to volunteer some time on the fourth Sunday of August, come join us.  Most of our volunteers walk in from various entry points to Elyria Canyon Park, but there is one small parking lot at the end of Wollum Street near the intersection of Division Street.  Park in the lot and walk up the path.  When the path divides, take the right path and wind uphill through the trees.  When you get to the crest, you should be able to see the Red Barn down below.  Stay on the paths to avoid poison oak.  Take note that there is a gate on Bridgeport Drive, and we do not recommend parking there to drive to Elyria Canyon Park.  If you would like additional information, please leave a comment.

 

 

 

Letter 6 – Free Living Hemipteran

 

Subject:  strange bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Johannesburg  South Africa
Date: 03/05/2018
Time: 05:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What on earth is this?
How you want your letter signed:  Adrian

Free Living Hemipteran

Dear Adrian,
This is a wonderful image.  We believe this is a Free Living Hemipteran, a group that includes Planthoppers and Treehoppers, but we are uncertain of the family to which it belongs.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to determine a species for us.

Thanks for that.  I thought it must be a plant hopper of sorts.  I’ve got lots of the common green and brown ones in my garden but I have never come across this guy before.  Very different.
If you want or need macro shots of insects for reference, I have more than 200 different insects in my garden!  I walk around the garden almost every day and each time I find at least one new species I haven’t seen before. Most interesting.

Letter 7 – Free-Living Hemipteran from Mexico

 

Subject: Green mini ? fly
Location: Nayarit, Mexico
September 30, 2016 6:31 pm
I’m in the west coast tropics of Mexico. You published my picture of a tailless whip scorpion a few years back. I’m amazed by the diversity of new bugs that show up after each rainstorm down here.
Every time I show a new bug to a local friend, he just shrugs his shoulders (if he’s not terrified by the bug :-)) and says nueva lluvia nuevo animal!
Anyway, this one is the only example I have ever seen, so I hope you can let me know what it is.
Thanks!
Signature: Steve in the tropics of Nayarit.

Free-Living Hemipteran: Planthopper or Other???
Free-Living Hemipteran: Planthopper or Other???

Dear Steve,
This is a Free-Living Hemipteran from the suborder Auchenorrhyncha, a group that includes Cicadas, Leafhopper, Treehoppers and Planthoppers.  Though it resembles a small Cicada, we believe it is a Planthopper in the superfamily Fulgoroidea.  We will continue to research its identity.

Free-Living Hemipteran
Free-Living Hemipteran

Letter 8 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Flourescent bug
Hello there!
I know you must be terribly swamped….but this bug is so beautiful….can you help me to identify it???? Thank you so very much! I found it on a Redbud leaf a few days ago in central Wisconsin…. Most sincerely…
Gayle Marks

Hi Gayle,
Thank you for your polite letter. We are feeling a bit sensitive at the moment because we just opened a rather rude and demanding letter from a woman who chastised us for not answering her. We will remember her name and hit delete in the future. Sorry to trouble you with our crushed ego. These are Red Banded Leafhoppers or Red and Green Stiped Leafhoppers, or our favorite, Candystriped Leafhoppers, Graphocephala coccinea. Though beautiful, they are thought of as harmful to plants as they suck the juices and have been known to spread viruses from plant to plant as they feed.

Letter 9 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

bugs on perennial hibiscus
Hi,
I’m hoping you can help me identify this ‘critter’. Found these on my perennial hibiscus today. Last year about the time they were ready to blossom they were overrun with a lime green version of this bug. They literally swarmed over the blossoms. I’ve been treating the plants with a systemic fertilizer/insecticide that is supposed to control aphids & other assorted insects. If I don’t figure out a way to rid the plants of these pests I doubt if the plants will stay in my landscape for another season. I live in Minnesota and we’re having a hot, humid and very dry summer so far. Thanks for any help you can give me!
Jeanne

Hi Jeanne,
Even though it is a beauty, the Candystriped Leafhopper, or Red Striped Leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea, is, as you well know, a plant sucking pest. They are also believed to spread viruses to plants.

Letter 10 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Mystery Red and Blue Insect
June 4, 2010
While weeding my herb garden, I found the most beautiful little mystery bug relaxing on one of my peppermint plants! He was very small, maybe 7mm long. I’d never seen one before! I’d love to know what this guy is, so I know if he’s a danger to my herbs or not.
Katy
Toledo, OH

Candystriped Leafhopper

Hi Katy,
This Candystriped Leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea, is one of the Leafhoppers in the Sharpshooter subfamily Cicadellinae.  BugGuide has a nice information page on the species.

Letter 11 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Identification
Location:  Boston, MA
October 3, 2010 2:42 pm
I’ll appreciate if you could identified this insect. We have never seen one like this in Jamaica Plain, Boston, MA
Thanks
RB
Signature:  Sanpico

Candystriped Leafhopper

Hi Sanpico,
This Leafhopper is one of the Sharpshooters and it is commonly called the Candystriped Leafhopper,
Graphocephala coccinea.  It is a common species that is suspected of spreading viruses to plants it feeds upon.

Letter 12 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Do you know the name of this insect?
Location: Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
June 30, 2011 9:51 am
Dear bugman,
I found this insect in my garden on my sunflower leaves. It was in the evening and the temperature was kind of cool. I found it in June.
Signature: LIss

Candystriped Leafhopper

Hi Liss,
Sadly, though it is quite beautiful, the Candystriped Leafhopper,
Graphocephala coccinea, is not considered to be a beneficial insect in gardens.  The Urban Wildlife Guide is a nice source of information on the species.

Letter 13 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Subject: Bug ID
Location: North Suburban Boston
October 24, 2012 10:57 am
I was in the backyard photographing spiders when I found this colorful creature on a leaf.
9am, 9/23/12, suburban backyard, length is about 3mm.
I only got this one angle on the creature.
Signature: Tom

Candystriped Leafhopper

Dear Tom,
The Candystriped Leafhopper, though it is a lovely insect, is considered a problematic species that can suck fluids from tender plant shoots.

Letter 14 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Subject: Colorful Little Guy
Location: Cambridge, MA
May 11, 2013 1:03 pm
Hi,
I found this guy sitting on the leaf of a sunflower. It’s maybe 15 mm long and i found him in October. Sorry i didn’t get more photos.
Signature: Love to know the answer

Candystriped Leafhopper
Candystriped Leafhopper

Dear LTKTA.,
This lovely insect is commonly called a Candystriped Leafhopper and its scientific name is Graphocephala coccinea.  See BugEric for more information on this colorful insect that sucks nourishment from tender plants.

Letter 15 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Subject: bright red and blue bug
Location: DeKalb, IL
June 29, 2013 10:05 am
This little guy is sitting on a sunflower leaf in DeKalb, IL. Photo taken Saturday, June 29.
Signature: Jeff

Candystriped Leafhopper
Candystriped Leafhopper

Dear Jeff,
This colorful creature is a Candystriped Leafhopper,
Graphocephala coccinea.  Though they are quite lovely, Candystriped Leafhoppers are members of a family that are generally not that welcome in the garden.  They are in the order Hemiptera, a group of insects with piercing and sucking mouthparts.  The Candystriped Leafhopper will such the nourishing fluids from plants.  While we do not know the specifics on this particular species, BugGuide does indicate on the family page that:  “nymphs and adults feed on sap of above-ground stems or leaves of plants; some species are more host-specific than others” and “Several species are serious crop pests; some transmit plant pathogens (viruses, mycoplasma-like organisms, etc.)”  We doubt that Candystriped Leafhoppers are ever plentiful enough to present a problem in the home garden.

Letter 16 – Candystriped Leafhopper

 

Subject: identify beetle please
Location: Minneapolis MN
August 4, 2017 4:00 pm
Thanks! Barely over a centimeter long. Is it a beetle? is there another order it could be under? I would like any information, maybe to the family level at least? Thanks.
Signature: Scott

Candystriped Leafhopper

Dear Scott,
This colorful creature is NOT a beetle.  It is a Candystriped Leafhopper.  Leafhoppers have mouths designed to pierce and suck fluids from plants, so despite their beauty, they are not welcomed by home gardeners.

Letter 17 – Candystriped Leafhoppers

 

Subject: Small grasshopper like bug
Location: Hobart indiana
September 20, 2015 4:47 pm
These little guys like hanging out on my hibiscus leaves. I find them strange because they seem to shoot little droplets from there rear ends.
Signature: Mike

Candystriped Leafhoppers
Candystriped Leafhoppers

Dear Mike,
These Candystriped Leafhoppers,
Graphocephala coccinea, are not even closely related to Grasshoppers.  Leafhoppers are more closely related to Cicadas, and they are classified along with Aphids and True Bugs in the order Hemiptera, insects with mouths adapted to piercing and sucking fluids.  Like Aphids, they release honeydew, which is the widely used name for the droplets you observed.  Like many members of their order, Candystriped Leafhoppers are considered pest species in the garden.

Letter 18 – Candystriped Leafhoppers mating

 

cecropia and others
Hi! A couple of years ago I sent you pictures of my Cecropia project — I raised a bunch of caterpillars and was rewarded with beautiful moths the next spring. Last year I was fortunate enough to get more caterpillars, and I wanted to share some images of the moths. Very serendipitously, as you’ve made them your bug of the month for July. For your bug love page, here’s images of Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus) and Scarlet and Green Leafhoppers (Graphocephala coccinea) — one with the two leafhoppers getting advice from the beetle! I’ve included a pic of a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) that I took last year in my back yard. According to the folks at Butterflies and Moths of North America ( http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org ) it’s a first report from MN, so that’s pretty exciting. I know it’s not a great pic but I thought you might like to see it 🙂 Lastly is a pic of what I think is Labidomera clivicollis, Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle. What do you think? Thanks as always for a great site
henry

hi Henry,
While we applaud your enthusiasm and are impressed with the volume if imagery you sent our way, we have to limit our postings. We are thrilled to post your mating Candystriped Leafhoppers and a cropped version of the three Cecropia Moths on your window screen, awaiting an opportunity to venture into the night.

Letter 19 – Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

 

Homalodisca vitripennis (Glassy-winged sharpshooter)
Hi Lisa Anne and Daniel,
Thank you for the time and enthusiasm you devoted to this wonderful and useful site! Here is a photo of Homalodisca vitripennis (Glassy-winged sharpshooter) I took around mid-July this year at the balcony of my apartment at Pasadena, CA. I ID the bug with the aid of both your site and the BugGuide. On the first day I noticed one nymph on the branch of my black locust, and a day later, found three adults. These bugs, each about 1.5cm long, looked darker when observed directly by eyes.The colors on wings and patterns on the body are displayed more clearly in photos. They were extremely shy and very good at hiding. I had to use my hand to “scare” them away from the other side of the branch to take the shot. The photo is not as beautiful compared to the other amazing pictures on your page, but since there is only one glassy-winged sharpshooter entry on your site, I hope you still find it useful to add to your database. 🙂 Supplementary Info: Based on BugGuide and other related webpages like USDA: ” the Glassy-winged sharpshooters is one of the invasive species in S. California (although native to Southeast US). Being the vector of the plant-infecting bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, the sharpshooter can transmit Pierce¡|s Disease of grapes and many other “scorch-like” plant diseases, and is therefore considered a serious agricultural pest in SoCal, especially for wine grapes and peach.” thanks again,
Wei-Ting

Thank Wei-Ting,
We welcome the opportunity to post another example of the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, especially since getting the image required some pre-planned choreography.

Letter 20 – Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

 

Unknown Hiding bug
Location: San Diego Ca
September 26, 2011 8:48 pm
I see this bug on my citrus & fruit trees. It’s hard to get a photo because it moves to the opposite side of the branch whenever you get close to it.
The bug expels fluid from the rear in tiny droplets. The head is shovel shaped. Is it damaging my trees?
Signature: Dennis in San Diego

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

Dear Dennis,
This is a Leafhopper, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Glassy Winged Sharpshooter,
Homalodisca vitripennis, thanks to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, it is native to North America “but introduced (and an invasive pest) elsewhere, including CA.”

Letter 21 – Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

 

Subject: Hi Daniel – Bug Rescued from Birdbath
Location: Hawthorne, CA
February 13, 2014 8:08 pm
Hi Daniel,
I rescued this bug from the birdbath today and can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. It was still very wet in these photos, but I’m hoping you can help identify it. When I went back after a time to see if it had dried off, it and the stick it was on were gone.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter
Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

Hi Anna,
We are not going to award you the Bug Humanitarian Award for this Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, but we just might create a new tag of notoriety.  According to BugGuide, the invasive, exotic Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is:  “A major vector of Pierce’s disease on grape. Usually not a serious pest within its native range, this sp. was introduced into so. California, where it has become a serious threat to viticulture.”

Oh, my.  I wonder if I need to contact someone about this.

We wouldn’t trouble the authorities on this matter.  The Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is already established in Southern California.  Though we don’t endorse extermination, you might consider squashing any individuals you encounter in the future.

Letter 22 – Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

 

Subject: Please ID
Location: Paramount CA
July 27, 2016 7:05 pm
Its late July when I felt something near my armpits the stretch mark area there was something ive never seen and I know more than your average person about wild life.
Signature: Brian

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter
Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

Dear Brian,
This is a Glassy Winged Sharpshooter,
Homalodisca vitripennis, and according to BugGuide:  “A major vector of Pierce’s disease on grape. Usually not a serious pest within its native range, southeastern US. This species was accidentally introduced into so. California in the early 1990s, probably with ornamental or agricultural stock. There, it has become a serious threat to viticulture.  The biggest problem is that it can spread the disease-causing bacterium Xylella fastidiosa.”

Daniel,
Thanks for your service.  Should I see a doctor?

Dear Brian,
While we cannot say for certain if you have cause to see a doctor, your interaction with this Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is no cause for concern.  The bacterium mentioned is a disease agent for grape vines, not people.

Letter 23 – Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

 

Subject: What bug is this?
Location: Southern California
August 9, 2016 2:41 pm
Found this bug on me while laying in bed. What is it?
Signature: Mathew

Glassy Winged Sharpshooter
Glassy Winged Sharpshooter

Dear Mathew,
The Glassy Winged Sharpshooter is a recently introduced insect to Southern California.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

4 thoughts on “How to Control Leafhoppers on Outdoor Plants: Effective Tips and Techniques”

  1. Just found one of these leafhoppers in my garden. Sad to find out it is not a “beneficial” insect. I really would prefer not to kill such a beautiful creature. But I guess I’ll have to if I want to save my tomatoes. 🙁

    Reply

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