Potato Leafhopper

Potato Leafhopper Control

Empoasca fabae

In spite of their name, the Potato Leafhopper is destructive to more than 100 cultivated plants other than the potato. In Pennsylvania, Iowa and elsewhere, they are the most destructive pest to alfalfa crops. In Kentucky, they are a constant problem in vegetable crops like beans and peanuts. In California, they can be a grave pest on citrus. In North Carolina, leafhoppers are widely distributed during the growing season on peanuts, hay, and pasture crops. Adaptable might be their rightful name. The adults are a bright, lime green – so spotting them isn't the problem. Their mobility is a problem when trying to control them. They move fast. Both the adult and nymph stages have piercing mouthparts that they use to feed on the sap of the plant phloem. Unique to this leafhopper – they repeatedly probe and lacerate the cells of the host plant. They inject an enzyme into the leaf that reduces the plants ability to photosynthesize. This causes plants to have lower yields.

During the summer, potato leafhoppers are found from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains. They are absent throughout most of the winter because they over-winter in the Gulf States. Then they migrate north in the spring.

Controls include:

  • Beauveria bassiana helps to control all stages that are in your area.
  • Ladybugs, Green Lacewing, and Minute Pirate Bugs are generalist predators that will help control them.
  • Floating row covers placed over plants to exclude the adult leafhoppers from your crops.

The products we provide for control are shown below.

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