How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Scientific Name: Empoasca fabae
(Reviewed 2/17, updated 2/17)
In this Guideline:
Description of the Pest
The potato leafhopper is a potential pest of citrus in some areas, especially in groves near tomato fields, cotton fields, or pastures in the San Joaquin Valley. It is a green, slender insect with bristlelike antennae and rows of spines along its hind legs. It breeds in large numbers on wild plants and field crops. During late summer and fall, the leafhoppers may migrate to citrus groves to spend the winter in the shelter of the trees.
The potato leafhopper feeds on fruit by puncturing rind cells in and around vascular tissue, causing yellowish to light brown, roundish scars on fruit. The scars are particularly apparent on green fruit and resemble thrips oviposition (egg laying) scars except they are more clustered and do not have darkened centers.
Leafhoppers are not a problem every year. In addition, they do not remain in the orchard long. Usually by the time they are detected, the leafhoppers are already gone; a preventive spray is best if there is a history of problems with this pest. A yellow, sticky card, such as the one used for the California red scale, or traps can be used to help determine if leafhoppers are present.
If you apply a Bordeaux spray in fall against brown rot and Septoria, you may want to add some additional hydrated lime to repel leafhoppers. Because this is a preventive spray, it must be made before migration into the grove occurs.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Citrus
Insects, Mites, and Snails
E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Lindcove Research and Extension Center, Exeter and Entomology, UC Riverside
Acknowledgments for contributions to Insect, Mite, and Snails:J. Barcinas, E.S.I., Corona, CA
R. Dunn, Badger Farming Co., Exeter, CA
J. Gorden, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
C. E. Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
D. Machlitt, Consulting Entomology Services, Moorpark, CA
C. Musgrove, retired entomologist, Riverside, CA
K. Olsen, S & J Ranch, Pinedale, CA
N. V. O'Connell, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
P. A. Phillips, UC IPM Program, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County
T. Roberts, E.S.I., Corona, CA
T. Shea, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
J. Stewart, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
P. Washburn, Washburn & Sons Citrus Pest Control, Riverside, CA