Glasshouse leafhopper

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

Glasshouse leafhopper (Hauptidia maroccana). Credit: RHS/Entomology.

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

What is glasshouse leafhopper?

Glasshouse leafhopper is a small 3mm long, pale green sap-feeding insect which can jump of leaves and fly short distances.

Symptoms

  • 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 leafhopper 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 nymphs are less active and can be easier to spot
  • White cast skins shed by the immature nymphs can often be found attached to the underside of damaged leaves

Control

Non-chemical control

  • There are no non-chemical controls currently available for this insect. However, although unsightly the damage can be tolerated as plant vigour is not usually seriously affected

Chemical controls

  • Some control main be gained if plants are sprayed when leaf spotting is first seen
  • Contact pyrethroid insecticides such as deltamethrin (e.g. Bayer Sprayday Greenfly Killer), lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Bug Killer), cypermethrin (e.g. Py Bug Killer) or natural pyrethrum (considered organic e.g. Defenders Bug Killer, Ecofective Bug Killer (also contains fatty acids))
  • The systemic neonicotinoid  insecticide acetamiprid (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra) can also be used
  • If a food plant is to be treated it must be listed on the label and the manufacturers instructions must be followed regarding maximum number of applications and harvest interval.  
  • With the exception of acetamiprid and cypermethrin, the insecticides listed above can be used on glasshouse tomatoes, aubergine, peppers and cucumber and some other edibles provided the food plant is listed and the label instructions regarding maximum applications and harvest interval are followed
  • Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to pollinating insects
  • Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener

Download

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

Biology

  • Leaf mottling can be caused by the feeding activities of the adults and nymphs, which live mainly on the lower leaf surface
  • This leafhopper has several generations during the growing season and can remain 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 five 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

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