Leaf hopper description

Leaf hoppers are usually less then 13mm in length, with long slender tapered bodies. They tend to be pale green to tan in colour, and may have dark markings. They usually infest the lower surface of leaves and if disturbed move sideways very quickly. They also have a characteristic hop when disturbed. High temperatures increase infestation which cause yield reductions and in extreme cases total crop loss. Another name for leaf hoppers is ’jassids’.  There are two basic types, Beet Leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus) and Potato Leafhopper (Empoasca fabae). Beet Leafhoppers feed mainly on beets, potatoes, tomatoes and some weeds.  The Potato Leafhopper feed mostly on apples, beans, celery, citrus, eggplant, peanuts, potatoes and rhubarb.

Damage caused by leaf hopper

While some damage is caused by nymphs and adult feeding, the most serious problem is the viral disease, mosaic and little leaf, that is vectored by leafhoppers. Infected plants turn yellow and stop growing. Leaves roll upward and turn purplish in colour. Leaves and stems become stiff. Spring plantings are the most susceptible. The leaves also curl upwards along the margins and the outer leaf areas appear yellowish or burned. The leaves tend to be small and a mosaic patter of yellowing is also visible. Plants infested with leaf hopper tend to have low fruit set.

Natural predators

Big eyed bugs and some predator flies.