How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines


Beet Leafhopper

Scientific name: Circulifer tenellus

(Reviewed 11/05, updated 1/10, pesticides updated 9/16)

In this Guideline:


The beet leafhopper is approximately 0.125 inches long, wedge-shaped, and pale green to gray or brown in color. It may have dark markings on the upper surface of the body. It can be distinguished from Empoasca leafhoppers by its darker markings; Empoasca leafhoppers are a uniform green color. Beet leafhopper overwinters on rangeland weeds and migrates to sugarbeet and other crops in spring as its overwintering hosts die.


Direct feeding by beet leafhopper causes relatively minor damage. Its pest status derives from its transmission of Beet curly top virus and other related viruses. Beet curly top virus is an extremely destructive disease of sugarbeet as well as other crops (e.g., tomatoes). The leaves of plants infected with this virus are dwarfed, crinkled, and rolled upward and inward. Veins are roughened and often swollen. Roots become distorted, often with a proliferation of hair roots (not to be confused with Rhizomania). Phloem tissue often becomes necrotic and appears as dark rings in cross sections or dark streaks in longitudinal sections of the root.


Weed control in areas surrounding the field can help reduce sources of Beet curly top virus inoculum.

Cultural Control

Removal of weeds and volunteer beets surrounding sugarbeet fields can play an important role in reducing sources of inoculum available to migrating leafhoppers.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

Foliar insecticides have not proven to be generally effective in controlling beet leafhopper or reducing the incidence of Beet curly top virus when applied directly to the sugarbeet crop. Occasionally systemic insecticides have proven valuable in reducing the incidence of this virus. The effectiveness of these materials depends on the climatic factors affecting weed hosts of the leafhopper and the virus, timing of planting and application of materials relative to leafhopper migration, and proximity of fields to leafhopper and virus overwintering sites.

Common name Amount per acre REI‡ PHI‡
(Example trade name)   (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.
  (Thimet 20G), at planting 3.4–4.5 oz/1000 ft row 72 30
  (Thimet 20G), postemergence 4.9–7.5 lb 72 30
  COMMENTS: Has been successful in reducing damage from Beet curly top virus in research settings, but efficacy under field conditions cannot be guaranteed. Do not place phorate granules in direct contact with seed. Do not feed tops or silage to dairy cattle. Place granules to the side of seed or in a band over the row. Do not apply by air or make more than one applications per season.
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.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Sugarbeet
UC ANR Publication 3469

Insects and Mites

E.T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension Imperial County

Acknowledgement for contributions to Insects and Mites:
C. G. Summers, Entomology, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
D. R. Haviland, UC IPM Program and UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
L. D. Godfrey, Entomology, UC Davis

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