How to Get Rid of Leafhoppers in the Garden
Leafhoppers are considered a pest of agriculture and horticulture and can cause significant damage to crops if not controlled.
Leafhoppers are a type of insect that feeds on the sap of many different types of plants. Some of the most common host plants for leafhoppers include:
Fruit trees: Leafhoppers can be a problem on many fruit trees, including apple, pear, and cherry trees.
Vegetables: Leafhoppers can also be a problem on many vegetables, including tomato, cucumber, and potato plants.
Grains: Leafhoppers can also be a problem on grain crops, including corn, wheat, and barley.
Ornamental plants: Leafhoppers can also be a problem on ornamental plants, including roses, hibiscus, and petunia.
Leafhoppers are found worldwide.
Leafhoppers are small, winged insects that belong to the family Cicadellidae. They are generally about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and have a narrow, wedge-shaped body. Leafhoppers are typically green or brown in color and have large, bulging eyes.
Leafhoppers have piercing-sucking mouthparts that they use to feed on the sap of plants.
Leafhoppers are known for their ability to jump, which allows them to quickly escape from predators and move from plant to plant.
The life cycle of leafhoppers typically consists of four stages: egg, nymph, adult, and egg. The length of the life cycle will depend on the species of leafhopper and the local climate, but most leafhoppers complete their life cycle within a few weeks to a couple of months.
Egg: The female leafhopper lays her eggs on the underside of leaves or in crevices in the bark of the host plant. The eggs are usually small, white, and oval in shape.
Nymph: After hatching from the egg, the nymph goes through several molts as it grows. During this stage, the nymph feeds on the sap of the host plant and becomes larger and more mature.
Adult: After the final molt, the nymph emerges as an adult leafhopper. The adult can fly and continues to feed on the sap of the host plant.
Egg: The adult female leafhopper then lays her eggs on the host plant, starting the cycle again.
The life cycle of leafhoppers can vary depending on the species and the local climate, but generally, they are most active during the warmer months of the year. By understanding the life cycle of leafhoppers, you can better monitor their presence and implement control measures when necessary to prevent damage to your plants.
Damage and Detection
Damage caused by leafhoppers typically includes:
Yellowing or chlorosis of leaves: Leafhoppers feed on the sap of plants, which can cause the leaves to turn yellow or develop a mottled pattern.
Wilting: Leafhoppers can also cause wilting of the affected plants as they remove the sap that the plant needs to stay hydrated.
Stunted growth: The damage caused by leafhoppers can also result in stunted growth of the affected plants.
Transmitting plant diseases: Some species of leafhoppers are capable of transmitting plant diseases, such as mosaic viruses, which can further harm the health of the affected plants.
To detect leafhoppers in your garden, you can monitor for the signs of damage described above, as well as look for the insects themselves. They are known for their ability to jump, which makes them highly mobile and difficult to catch. However, you can often find them on the undersides of leaves or on the stems of the affected plants.
Prevention and Control
Here are some methods to get rid of leafhoppers in the garden:
Physical removal: Handpicking leafhoppers from the affected plants and removing them from the garden can also help to reduce their numbers.
Natural predators: Encouraging natural predators, such as ladybugs, spiders, minute pirate bugs, and lacewings, to live in your garden can help control leafhopper populations. These insects feed on leafhoppers and can help to keep their numbers in check.
Insecticidal soap: Spraying the affected plants with insecticidal soap can effectively control leafhoppers. Insecticidal soap disrupts the waxy coating on the insect's exoskeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Companion planting: Companion planting with plants that deter leafhoppers, such as petunias or geraniums, can also effectively reduce the population of leafhoppers in your garden.
Neem oil: Spraying the affected plants with neem oil can also effectively control leafhoppers. Neem oil disrupts the insect's hormone system, causing it to stop feeding and mating.
Chemical insecticides: If the leafhopper population is particularly high, you may need to use a chemical insecticide to eliminate them. However, it's important to use these products with caution, as they can also harm beneficial insects and other wildlife.
It's important to keep in mind that the most effective method of controlling leafhoppers will depend on the specific situation in your garden, so it's always a good idea to consult with a local extension service or professional pest control expert for guidance.
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.