Denise Attaway  |  2/2/2011 12:26:20 AM

Leafhopper. Photo by Jerry A. Payne, USDA/ARS. Source: www.bugwood.org.

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 are small (under 1/4 inch), mobile insects often found on the stems or undersides of leaves, where they feed by piercing the surface of the plant and sucking plant juices. Most are green or brown, but some are quite brightly marked with green and red. The young resemble the adults but are smaller and wingless. These insects do little damage by feeding on plants. They do some damage, however, when they make a slit in the stem in which to lay their eggs.

Certain leafhopper species transmit blueberry stunt mycoplasma, a disease that can threaten blueberry production. If diseased plants are close to healthy plants, the chance that the disease will be transmitted is high. It is important, therefore, to remove diseased issue and, if necessary, entire plants that exhibit symptoms.

  • Scientific name: Family Cicadellidae (Homoptera: Cicadellidae)
  • Very small.
  • Very active.
  • Greenish to brownish in color.
  • Slender.
  • Wedge-shaped.
  • Jumping insects.
  • Sizes range from 1/8 inch to almost 1/2 inch long.


  • Suck plant juices with their pierce-sucking mouthparts.
  • Transmit blueberry stunt mycoplasma, a disease that can threaten blueberry production.
  • Cause white stippling, tip burn or drying of leaves.
  • Black spots of excrement and cast skins may be present.
  • Some species cause a diamond-shaped yellowing from the leaf tip.
  • May transmit curly top and aster yellows viruses to some vegetables.
  • Damage usually is not serious enough for control.


  • Look for leafhoppers or their cast skins on the undersides of affected leaves.
  • They are faster than aphids and run sideways and jump.
  • Have red-tipped antennae.
  • Have two tubelike structures, called cornicles, protruding from the hind end.


  • General predators may have some impact.
  • Remove alternate hosts to reduce populations that could otherwise later migrate into the crop.
  • Insecticidal soap or other insecticides applies when nymphs are small may be used if necessary to reduce populations, but will not significantly reduce transmission.
  • Control is rarely needed.
  • Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for control measures specifically for your area.

UC IPM Online: Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program. Leafhoppers. University of California.

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