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Leafhoppers and Planthoppers

Leafhoppers and Planthoppers

Leafhoppers and Planthoppers

There are over 12,500 varieties of leafhoppers and planthoppers, that feed on the sap from plants, grass, and trees but most are harmless to the plant.

The planthopper gets its name because of its resemblance to leaves and other plants of their environment and from the fact that they often hop like a grasshopper.

By the looks of the photos below, you would like they are huge – but they are only about the size of a grain of rice. There are a few in the hopper family that are considered large at 0.5 inches.

Cool in Steel Blue

The Harm They Can Do

Generally speaking, the hoppers are in low volume and do not bother plants too much, so it is a huge garden pest for traditional gardeners.

The Proof is in the Leaves

Leafhoppers can cause small white spots to appear on the upper part of the leaf surface.  A heavy infestation can cause leaves to dry and turn the plant leaves yellow or brown.

Three of a Kind

Some Leafhoppers Carry Bacteria

Several species of leafhoppers are serious agricultural pests because they carry a bacteria that causes a virus and will cause wilting and death to crops.  The common leafhoppers are listed below.

• Beet leafhopper
• Maize leafhopper
• Potato leafhopper
• Two-spotted leafhopper
• Blue-green sharpshooter
• Glassy-winged sharpshooter
• The common brown leafhopper
• Rice green leafhoppers 
• White apple leafhopper

Lime Green with Spots

Ways to Get Rid of Leafhoppers and Planthoppers

Monitor with sticky traps – Sticky traps can be easily hung around your crops. Since the critters are attracted to the color yellow and hang out in and on the foliage of the leaves, you can catch them on the sticky traps.  A small amount – no big deal.

Just leave them – By either using the Yellow Sticky Traps or looking over your plants and the amount of leafhopper and planthoppers is small, do nothing.  Seldomly are they are a huge threat and there are plenty of natural enemies for them to contend with, like ladybugs and spiders.

Unique Patterns

Floating row covers – When plants are young you can install floating row covers.  The ones below allow sun and rain to get through but not the insects.

Apply insecticidal soap – the thing about insecticides and leaf and planthoppers is that they would only be effective on immature insects.  Adults could easily escape and just come back.

Now, you are armed with all the information you need to figure out if you need to take additional steps.  Plus, you had the chance to see a few of the 12,500 different hoppers up close and personal.  Happy gardening!


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