Ornamental & Turf Insect Note Logo

PLANTHOPPERS

Steve Bambara and James R. Baker, Extension Entomologists

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

General Information

waxy adultsadult close upThe most common flatid planthopper in North Carolina is the citrus flatid planthopper. The citrus flatid planthopper is dark bluish-black but has a white, waxy bloom that makes the insect appear whitish or bluish-white. The eyes are red. The length is about 1/4 inch. Other common related planthoppers are about the same size but are a lovely pastel green. Flatid planthopper eggs are inserted into the bark. No description is available. Flatid planthopper nymphs grow to 3/16 inch long. They are pale green with red eyes and covered by a thick, fluffy, white, waxy secretion that also covers the stem in a sort of "nest." Nymphs are wide and flat. They jump 12 to 18 inches when disturbed. Acanalonia conica is our most common acanalonid planthopper. It is a lovely pastel green insect about 1/4 inch long. The egg is Vienna-sausage shaped with a tiny curly projection. Immature acanalonids are peculiar, gray insects that have wide thoraces and very small abdomens. 

BIOLOGY

The citrus flatid planthopper occurs from Canada to Florida and Cuba and west to California. Other planthoppers occur throughout North America. Flatid plant-hoppers feed on numerous trees, vines, and ornamental herbs. They are commonly reported on shrubs in North Carolina.

Flatid planthoppers are usually not abundant enough to cause real damage to the health of ornamental plants. Their waxy secretions and honeydew disfigure plants and make them unpleasant to touch. Sooty molds may grow in the honeydew which further disfigures infested plants. Rarely are planthoppers abundant enough to kill twigs by their egg deposition under the bark.

Flatid planthoppers spend the winter as eggs under the bark of various shrubs and trees. Nymphs hatch from the eggs in spring and summer and feed on sap by sucking it through needlelike mouthparts inserted in the bark or leaf. As the nymph feeds, it secretes a white, fluffy wax which covers its body and the twig or leaf around it. Nymphs also excrete honeydew, a sweet, sticky liquid. Sooty molds often grow in the honeydew. Adults appear during the summer. Females lay eggs by inserting them into the bark. There is only one generation per year.

Control

Currently no pesticide is specifically labeled for flatid and acanalonid planthopper control. These pests can be dispersed by spraying them with a strong stream of water from a garden hose. By carefully examining a shrub infested with flatid planthoppers, it is often possible to find other plant pests for which there is proper pesticide labeling. By treating for the labeled plant pest, plant-hoppers will be controlled incidentally. If aphids or lace bugs are found, use one of the following insecticides. (Horticultural spray oil can be applied during the winter and before new growth emerges in spring.)
 
Pesticide (Trade Name) 
Formulation
*acephate (Orthene)  9.4 % emulsifiable concentrate
bifenthrin (Talstar)  (*other pyrethrin formulations) 10 % wettable powder
fluvalinate (Mavrik) 23 % aquaeous flowable
*malathion (Cythion) 56 % emulsifiable concentrate
*oils, horticultural (Supreme Spray, UltraFine, Volck, etc)
*soap (Insecticide Conc., M-Pede) 50.5 % emulsifiable concentrate

* Suitable for home use.


Other Resources

For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service personnel.

Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance contact an agent of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in your county. © 2001 NC Cooperative Extension Service

Prepared by: Steve Bambara and James R. Baker, Extension Entomologists

ENT/ort-48 November 1994 (Revised) 2000.

Web page last reviewed January, 2011 by the webperson.