Leafhoppers (Empoasca spp)
Adult leafhoppers are small about 2 to 3 mm long and thin. The wings are held roof like over the abdomen. They are pale green to yellowish green in color, shiny and more or less transparent. The legs are slender with bristles. The nymphs resemble the adults but are smaller and do not have fully developed wings. Adults and nymphs suck sap from the leaves, remaining on the underside during the day, but also moving to the upper surface during the evening. When disturbed they run sideways rapidly to reach a shady part of the host plant.
Feeding by leafhoppers causes discoloration, and leaf curl, the outer zone of the leaf turn yellow to reddish and whither later. Heavy leafhopper infestation may retard plant growth and may cause severe yield losses. In Africa, leafhopper damage is usually minor and does not warrant control.
- Look for leafhoppers on the undersides of leaves.
- Wash nymphs from plants with a strong jet of water. Wash the undersides of the leaves in particular.
- Set out yellow sticky traps near the infested plants if the infestation is severe. For more information on sticky traps click here
- If necessary spray insecticidal soap, neem or pyrethrum.