Pest Profile

Potato Leafhopper
Empoasca fabae

Pest Description

Small (1/8-inch long), yellow-green, wedge-shaped insects that move sideways, jump or fly when disturbed. Nymphs and adults damage alfalfa during midsummer. Injured plants typically exhibit V-shaped yellowing of the leaf tips (“hopper-burn”). During some years, this insect substantially damages alfalfa. More attention needs to be devoted to scouting for and managing this pest. Stunted, yellowed plants are less valuable for livestock feed because of reduced protein levels. Controls should be applied before yellowing begins. If required, one spray applied to the stubble is usually adequate to control leafhoppers. Suggested treatment guidelines are found at left. Sample values represent the average number of leafhoppers per sweep from at least 20 pendulum sweeps per location, gathered from at least five representative locations per field. Stem length refers to the average plant height in the sampled areas. If infestations are not detected before alfalfa becomes yellowed and stunted, then it may be helpful to harvest, before making an insecticide treatment, to remove eggs. Where insecticide treatment has been justified for potato leafhopper control, the lowest recommended rates have often proven effective and re-infestation seldom occurs.

Source of information

J.P. Michaud, KSU Entomology

Pest photo source

J.P. Michaud, KSU Entomology