Pittosporum sucker

Pittosporum sucker is a sap sucking insect that can spoil the appearance of pittosporum by causing discoloration and distortion of leaves.

Pittosporum sucker ( Trioza vitreoradiata ) on Pittosporum

Pittosporum sucker (Trioza vitreoradiata) on Pittosporum

Quick facts

Common name: Pittosporum sucker or psyllid
Scientific name: Trioza vitreoradiata
Plants affected: Pittosporum
Main symptoms: Pale yellow bulges on leaves and distorted foliage
Most active: April-September

What is pittosporum sucker?

There are several species of sucker or psyllid that can be encountered by gardeners, they are sap sucking true bug. Pittosporum sucker feeds on sap from foliage of pittosporums during the spring and summer, this can result in distorted discoloured leaves.

Symptoms

Pittosporum leaves develop pale yellow bulges and distorted growth. Young leaves are particularly prone to damage.

Control

Damage by pittosporum sucker is unlikely to cause a serious lack of vigour in the plants although it can affect appearance. Therefore light infestations can be tolerated.

Non-pesticide control

In light infestations damaged leaves can be pruned out.

Pesticide control

  • Pesticide sprays are likely to be most effective when newly-hatched nymphs first appear on new growth in spring
  • Multiple applications may be required to achieve adequate control
  • Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Ecofective Bug Killer), fatty acids (e.g. Solabiol Bug Free, Doff Greenfly & Blackfly Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Organic Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear for Fruit and Veg) can give good control of sucker nymphs. These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep suckers check. Plant oil and fatty acid products are less likely to affect larger insects such as ladybird adults
  • More persistent insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Pest Killer), deltamethrin (e.g. Provanto Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer) and cypermethrin (e.g. Py Bug Killer)
  • The systemic neonicotinoid insecticide acetamiprid (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra) is also available
  • Follow label instructions when using pesticides
  • Do not spray near plants in flower 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

Originating from New Zealand, pittosporum sucker became established in south west England in 1993 and is has now spread throughout southern England, is established in parts of Scotland and also occurs in Ireland.

The whitish green nymphs are extremely flat and, almost scale-like in appearance. The yellowish green adult insects have two pairs of wings which are held in a roof-like fashion over the insect’s abdomen when at rest and are usually 3-4mm long. There are several generations during the summer with most damage occurring when new growth is developing.


Gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

Find out what to do this month with our gardeners' calendar

Advice from the RHS

Did you find the advice you needed?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now

Get involved

We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.