Leafhoppers

Leafhoppers – an overview:

This page provides an overview of leafhoppers. The related tools listed at the end of the page provide detailed information about their identification, damage and management. It is important to be able to identify insect pests such as leafhoppers, and to have unknown species expertly identified so that they can be appropriately managed.

Leafhoppers are small, active and wedge-shaped, ranging in colour from yellow or bright green through to brown. The adults tend to leap when disturbed and can travel long distances. They are favoured by warm, dry conditions.
Leafhoppers can be found on plant foliage. In lettuce they prefer to feed on the underside of leaves of young plants. In beans they may also be found on pods. Both the adults and nymphs suck plant sap and inject toxins. They can transmit diseases such as viruses and mycoplasma.

Leafhopper species, hosts, and damage:

Species

Description

Host vegetable crops

Primary damage

Vegetable leafhopper (Austroasca viridigrisea)

Adults are slightly bluish-green, about 3 mm long, with wings that extend beyond the abdomen. Almost identical to the Lucerne leafhopper.
Leafy vegetables; cucurbit vegetables; carrots; potatoes; tomatoes; eggplant; beans. Suck sap and inject toxins, resulting in white spots (stippling) on the leaves. Wilting and silvering of the leaves occurs if infestations are heavy.

Pest management:

Leafhoppers can be controlled and managed by implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) or Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) program. In ICP, the main aim is not zero pests, but rather sustainable pest management to reduce damage to below economic levels. Insecticides can be used if pest numbers become high and damage is detected. A combination of cultural, biological and chemical management options should be used to manage leafhoppers.  
  • Cultural control – Well-watered, vigorously growing crops can tolerate damage.
  • Biological control – Predatory bugs and spiders will attack leafhoppers. Unnecessary sprays for leafhoppers will adversely affect these and other beneficial insects and may trigger other pests such as Heliothis (Helicoverpa).
  • Chemical control – Vegetable leafhoppers can be easily controlled with systemic pesticides. For more information about current chemical options refer to the APVMA website, or a commercial chemical database.

Source of information and related tools: