University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Insect Damage

Potato Leafhopper [Vegetables]
Empoasca fabae

2 (1 = rare 5 = annual)
3 (1 = very little damage 5 = plants killed)
Potato, eggplant, bean, and many other plants.

Plants Affected

Adult potato leafhoppers are green, 1/8-inch long, wedge-shaped insects that jump and fly readily when disturbed. Nymphs are smaller and wingless. Nymphs are more likely to walk to the other side of the stem or leaf rather than jump. Both nymph and adult move in a characteristic "sidestep" pattern of walking, in which they move sideways rather than forward.

Both nymphs and adults suck sap out of leaves, causing them to curl, turn yellow, and then brown. Heavily damaged leaves drop from the plant. The insect attacks potato, eggplant, bean, and many other plants. Heavily injured beans are stunted with small root systems, resulting in reduced amount and quality of yield. They can also cause serious injury to bean seedlings through leaf feeding.

Life Cycle
This insect migrates north into Illinois from the southern United States each spring. There are several generations per year.

Treat potatoes when there are two adult potato leafhoppers per sweep of a net or one adult per sweep plus fifteen nymphs per twenty-five leaves. Treat beans if populations exceed one adult per sweep or one nymph per ten leaves. For bean plants smaller than the two-true-leaf stage, treat if counts exceed one adult per two sweeps.

Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic