Potato leafhopper

Potato leafhopper

Empoasca fabae (Harris)

Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadellidae


All leafhopper species feed on the undersides of leaves, puncturing cells and sucking out the contents. In general, juice grape (labrusca) varieties are much more tolerant of leafhoppers than hybrid or vinifera varieties.

The adult potato leafhopper is pale to bright green and about 1/8 inch long. Adults are very active, jumping, flying or running when disturbed. The immature forms, or nymphs, are pale green and wingless. They run forward, backward or sideways when disturbed. The potato leafhopper does not overwinter north of the Gulf states. Adults migrate north each spring on southerly winds and are deposited during May and June in spring rains.

  • Damage

    Potato leafhoppers can be very destructive on hybrid or vinifera varieties that are sensitive to the saliva they inject while feeding. Feeding is concentrated on young tissues near the shoot tips. On sensitive varieties, only a few adults are needed to cause leaf yellowing and cupping or shortened shoot internodes. This insect is typically a minor pest in labrusca grapes.

    Crops Affected

    • Grapes
  • Damage

    Attacks apple as well as many agronomic crops. Adults and nymphs inject a toxic saliva while feeding, which damages the leaf tissue and causes a characteristic yellowing or chlorosis called hopperburn, followed by cupping of young terminal leaves (B).

    Management

    Monitor the population by examining leaf undersides, especially on younger trees. When necessary, apply a selective insecticide against immature stages.

    Crops Affected

    • Apples

Similar Species

  • Grape leafhopper

    Insect

    All leafhopper species feed on the undersides of leaves, puncturing cells and sucking out the contents. In general, juice grape (labrusca) varieties are much more tolerant of leafhoppers than hybrid or vinifera varieties.

    Grape leafhopper adult.
  • White apple leafhopper

    Insect

    Adults are creamy white with short antennae, translucent wings, and a long wedge-shaped body. Usually found on the underside of leaves, they jump and fly with great agility. Nymphs are yellowish, wingless and very mobile; they generally move in a back-and-forth motion.

    Adults are creamy white.
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