Leafhoppers are common in backyard gardens across North America. Plant juices are consumed by adults and nymphs via puncturing the undersides of leaves. Plants develop spotting (white flecks), yellowing, leaf curling, stunting, and deformation as a result of their toxic saliva. They’re also in charge of spreading the organisms that cause viral infections in plants. Common hosts include beans, corn, lettuce, beets, potato, grapes, roses, and several other plants.

Yellow Black leafhoppers close up
Close-up of a yellow-black leafhopper


Leafhopper adults (1/4 inch long) are tiny, wedge-shaped insects that fly or scatter rapidly when aroused. They might be green, brown, or yellow, and often have colourful markings, depending on the species. Nymphs lack wings and are often paler in colour than adults. Both adults and nymphs can sprint and jump sideways.

The cycle of life.

Adults hibernate in crop debris or uncultivated areas near gardens during the winter. In late April, females deposit 1–6 eggs each day on the stems and larger veins of the leaves. The immature nymphs moult five times before becoming fully-fledged adults, and they hatch in 6-9 days. The moulting nymphs’ white cast skins are frequently discovered adhering to the undersides of broken leaves. From egg to adult, it takes about three weeks. Several generations may be accomplished at the same time during the growing season.

Leafhopper on blade of grass
Blue-coloured Leafhopper on the grass blade

How to Maintain Control

  • To reduce overwintering sites, remove garden waste and other debris as soon as possible after harvest.
  • Floating row covers can be used as a physical barrier to keep leafhoppers at bay.
  • Commercially accessible beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs are voracious predators of both the egg and immature larval stages.
  • To keep pest populations under control, use diatomaceous earth on plants and/or spot treat with insecticidal soap. Effective treatment requires thorough coverage of both upper and lower infected leaves.

Leafhopper Damage to Turfgrass: Symptoms and Causes

Leafhoppers can be spotted visually or by using an insect sweeping net to sample the probable infestation. Keep an eye out for flying adults as you go over the grass. A leafhopper infestation may also be indicated by an abundance of lady beetles, big-eyed bugs, parasitic wasps, and other natural enemies.

On turfgrass, there are no set treatment threshold levels for leafhoppers. A pesticide application may be necessary if leafhoppers are present in large enough numbers to be a nuisance or if harm emerges. Apply a liquid insecticide to the affected area (ensure complete application) and wait at least 24 hours before irrigating. Because of constant reinfestation from nearby grass or outlying regions, many sprays may be required throughout the season.

Leafhoppers eat turfgrass leaves and stem by sucking the juices out of them. On afflicted leaf blades, the initial injury appears as light-coloured stippled regions. The plant’s vascular system is disrupted throughout the feeding process, interfering with water and nutrient transport and causing plant tissues to discolor and wilt.

A type of leafhopper on a green plant
On a green plant, a leafhopper.

The greying or silvering of infested turf regions is a common early sign of leafhopper damage. The turf begins to dry up as the feeding and injuries continue, and it progressively changes from yellow to brown. Leafhopper eating can cause severe weakening or even mortality of the turf stand at high infestation levels. Damage is most severe in sunny places during hot, dry periods, and it is frequently misdiagnosed as drought stress.


Aster yellow illness is spread by a variety of leafhoppers, the most common of which is the aster leafhopper. Leafhoppers do not survive the winter in our area. When late-season damage and disease transmission occur, it is due to northerly adult migrations into our region, as well as the generation that is produced as a result of this migration. Disease transmission can be strong during heavy flights of diseased leafhoppers. Stems are where eggs are placed. Plant sap is sucked from leaves and stems by both immature and adults. They’re usually rather little (less than five millimetres (1/4 inch) in length). The wings are held over the back in an arched position.

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