Name: Cicadomorpha spp.

Alias: Leafhoppers are small, flat-headed insects that are usually less than one-eighth of an inch long. They come in various shades of green and have sucking mouthparts. The adults are distinguished by their rapid jumping or flying to escape danger. The nymphs are often less noticed because they cannot hop or fly. Instead, they crawl around awkwardly.

Crimes: As leafhoppers feed, they leave small spots across the leaf, known as stippling. Small amounts do not cause damage, but large populations may stress a plant and reduce productivity. Leafhoppers are also known to produce large quantities of “honeydew,” which is a sticky substance that they excrete while feeding.

Redeeming qualities: None known.

Sentence: Usually leafhopper populations can be controlled by natural predators. If there is an outbreak of leafhoppers, it is caused by a lack of other bugs to keep them at bay. The best management practice you can implement is to maintain biodiversity. If chemical intervention is warranted, there is a wide variety of options available. Leafhoppers are susceptible to just about every over-the-counter insecticide available. Pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, Sevin, Spinosad, horticultural soaps and oils are all options that will take them out. Remember that when you remove their predators, you are committed to taking their job. Always read and follow the label instructions.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-270-4031 or email jsagers@uidaho.edu.