Alphabetical Plant Listing

Garden Fleahopper

Halticus bractatus

Host Plants

The Garden fleahopper has a broad host range, infesting field crops, ornamentals, and vegetable crops. Commonly infested field crops include alfalfa, clover, sweet clover, and, in some areas, cotton. Vegetable crops that may be damaged include beans, beets, cabbage, celery, com, cowpeas, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Ornamental plants, such as chrysanthemum, daisy, marigold, and salvia, can be targeted by the garden fleahopper.

Host Plants

The Garden fleahopper has an extensive host range, infesting ornamentals, field crops, and vegetable crops. Main infested field crops include alfalfa, clover, sweet clover, and, in some areas, cotton. Vegetable crops susceptible to damage include bean, beet, cabbage, celery, corn, cowpea, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, and tomato. Ornamental plants, such as chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, and salvia, can be targeted by the garden fleahopper.

Regions impacted

Common throughout most of the United States, eastern Canada, and Central and South America.


The adults are shiny black with some yellow on the antennae and legs. There are three types of garden fleahopper adults: slender long-winged females, oval-bodied short-winged females, and slender long-winged males. All forms are black, about 1/16th of an inch long, and have long legs and antennae exceeding the body's length. They usually move by jumping but are also capable of flying.

Garden fleahoppers are usually found on the underside of leaves and jump or fly when disturbed. Adult garden fleahoppers can be confused for black aphids, given their similar small size. However, black aphids aren't jumpers. Because of the jumping, they are also sometimes mistaken for flea beetles.

The nymphs (immature bugs) resemble the adults and range from pale yellow to dark green. Nearly mature nymphs have a distinctive black spot on each side of the first segment behind the head. They are about half the size of the adults.

The eggs are white to yellow and about the size of a pinhead. The egg is curved, with one side convex and the opposite side flat or concave. The eggs are deposited by the female in feeding punctures so that the rounded end is inserted into the plant.

Life Cycle

  • The garden fleahopper passes through an egg and nymphal stage before becoming an adult. A whole life cycle can be completed in about 30 days.
  • In colder temperatures, the garden fleahopper overwinters in the egg stage; in warmer climates, it overwinters as an adult.
  • Pale yellow to light green nymphs emerge in the spring from the overwintering egg stage. They feed on the undersides of leaves for 11 to 41 days before becoming adults.
  • Females lay about 105 eggs over their 1 to 3-month life span. They are inserted into the stems and leaves of the plants on which the females feed. Eggs hatch 12 to 20 days later.
  • Once nymphs hatch from the egg, they pass through five instars before becoming full-fledged adults – this can take 15 to 40 days, depending on the climate.
  • There are up to five generations per year.

Damage and Detection

  • Nymphs and adults feed on the stems and surfaces of plant leaves, sucking the sap.
  • Lightly-infested leaves will develop pale spots or stippling resembling mite damage, while heavily-infested leaves may turn pale, dry up, and fall from the plant.
  • Dependent on the extent of the infestation, leaf feeding and drop may cause plant stunting, death of seedlings, and yield loss.
  • As they feed, the insect deposits fecal matter on the plant, impacting its appearance and marketability.

Prevention and Control

  • The garden fleahopper is easily managed with insecticides. In gardens, home/garden insecticides labeled for aphid management will suit.
  • Eggs are resistant to insecticides once buried in the plant tissue; therefore, a second application may be required upon hatching.
  • Fleahoppers commonly frequent weeds, so removal and regular maintenance is recommended.
  • Also, garden fleahoppers can infest leguminous crops such as alfalfa and clover, so nearby vegetables may be at risk when harvested.
  • Natural enemies exist, including parasitic wasps, predatory mites, and spiders.


Guide Information

Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported, Tortie tude

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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