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Glasshouse leafhopper

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last updated Dec 23, 2013
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Glasshouse leafhopper (Hauptidia maroccana). Credit: RHS/Entomology.

Glasshouse leafhopper causes a pale mottling on the foliage on a wide range of glasshouse and garden plants, including tomato and fuchsia.

What is glasshouse leafhopper? Back to top

Glasshouse leafhopper is a small sap-feeding insect.

Symptoms Back to top

  • A coarse pale mottling appears on the upper leaf surface of a wide range of plants in greenhouses, on houseplants and in gardens.
  • If the infestation is severe, the spots join together, giving the leaves a chlorotic appearance that could be mistaken for a mineral deficiency.
  • Damaged leaves will remain discoloured but new growth develops normally once the pest has been controlled.
  • Adult glasshouse leafhoppers are 3mm (about 1/8in) long and pale yellow with grey markings. They are broadest at the head end and taper to a point behind.
  • Adults jump off leaves and fly short distances when disturbed.
  • The creamy white, wingless, immature nymphs are less active and easier to spot.
  • White cast skins shed by the immature nymphs can often be found attached to the underside of damaged leaves.

Control Back to top

Non-chemical control

  • A biological control can be used in greenhouses. This is a tiny parasitic wasp, Anagrus atomus, which develops as larvae inside the leafhoppers's eggs.
  • The parasite needs warm temperatures to be effective and so can only be used during the summer. It is available by mail order from some suppliers of biological controls.

Chemical controls

  • When leaf spotting is first seen, apply deltamethrin (Bayer Sprayday Greenfly Killer), lambda cyhalothrin (Westland Plant Rescue Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer), thiacloprid (Provado Ultimate Bug Killer Concentrate or Ready To Use), acetamiprid (Scotts Bug Clear Ultra or Bug Clear Ultra Gun) or pyrethrum (Py Spray Garden Insect Killer or Scotts Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg).
  • With the exception of acetamiprid, these insecticides can be used on glasshouse tomatoes, aubergine, peppers and cucumber, but check the label instructions if other edible plants need treatment.

Download

Pesticides for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)

Biology Back to top

  • The leaf mottling is caused by the feeding activities of the adults and nymphs, which live mainly on the lower leaf surface.
  • This pest produces several generations and remains active throughout the year on indoor plants.
  • Eggs are laid in the leaf veins and hatch into wingless creamy white nymphs.
  • The nymphs shed their outer skin fives times as they grow and finally become adults.
  • In midsummer, the life cycle can be completed in six weeks but takes several months in the winter.

Quick facts

Common name Glasshouse leafhopper
Scientific name Hauptidia maroccana
Plants affected Many glasshouse vegetables and ornamental plants including tomato, peppers, aubergine, cucumber, fuchsia, pelargonium and Streptocarpus. Outdoor plants, such as polyanthus, foxglove and Nicotiana are also attacked
Main symptoms Coarse pale spotting on upper leaf surface.  Leafhoppers may be seen on the underside of leaves
Most active April to September but all year round in glasshouses

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