How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Potato Leafhopper

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.

Common name Amount to use REI‡ PHI‡
(Example trade name) (type of coverage)** (hours) (days)
Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
Bee precaution pesticide ratings
The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide's properties and application timing. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read the label of the product being used.
A. HYDRATED LIME# 15–30 lb/100 gal (OC) 0 0
  RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: narrow (leafhoppers); Natural enemies: interferes with searching ability of many natural enemies
  PERSISTENCE: Pests: long; Natural enemies: long
  COMMENTS: For use on all varieties.

** OC - Outside coverage uses 100 to 250 gal water/acre.
Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Citrus
UC ANR Publication 3441

Insects, Mites, and Snails

E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Lindcove Research and Extension Center, Exeter and Entomology, UC Riverside
J. G. Morse, Entomology, UC Riverside
D. R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County and UC IPM Program
B. A. Faber, UC Cooperative Extension, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

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

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