Rose leafhopper

These small sap-sucking insects cause mottling on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs.

Rose leafhopper (Edwardsiana rosae) on rose

Quick facts

Common name: Rose leafhopper
Scientific name: Edwardsiana rosae
Plants affected: Wild and cultivated roses as well as various other rosaceous trees and shrubs such as hawthorn and rowan
Main symptom: Pale mottling on foliage
Most active: May-September

What is rose leafhopper?

There are several species of leafhopper that can be encountered by gardeners, they are sap sucking true bugs
Rose leafhoppers feed on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs such as hawthorn and rowan. They are seldom a significant issue of any plants but roses in Britain.They readily jump away if disturbed and can cause a mottling on leaves of affected plants, especially those in hot dry situations.

Symptoms

Pale, coarse, mottling is seen on the upper leaf surface of roses. Over time, the mottled area can expand leaving foliage looking blanched. Heavy infestations can cause leaves to turn brown and fall prematurely.

Control

Although damage is often unsightly roses are often able to withstand heavy attacks and where possible damage can be tolerated. These insects have many natural enemies and in many cases natural processes will limit damage. 

Check roses frequently from spring onwards so action can be taken before a damaging infestation has developed. When choosing control options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section. If this is not sufficient to reduce the damage to acceptable levels then you may choose to use pesticides. Within this group the shorter persistence pesticides (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife than those with longer persistence and/or systemic action.

Non-pesticide control

  • Often rose leafhopper does not affect the growth or vigour of roses and so can be tolerated
  • Encourage predators and other natural enemies of leafhoppers, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps and ground beetles.

Pesticide control

  • Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Gun for Fruit & Veg, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer), fatty acids (e.g. Solabiol Bug Free, Doff Greenfly & Blackfly Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Plant Guard Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear for Fruit and Veg) can give good control of leafhoppers. These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep leafhopper numbers in check. Plant oil and fatty acid products are less likely to affect larger insects such as ladybird adults 
  • Plant invigorators combine nutrients to stimulate plant growth with surfactants or fatty acids that have a physical mode of action (e.g. Ecofective Bug Control, RHS Bug and Mildew Control, SB Plant Invigorator and Westland Resolva Natural Power Bug & Mildew). These are not considered organic
  • More persistent contact-action insecticides include the synthetic pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin (e.g. Westland Resolva Bug Killer), deltamethrin (e.g. Provanto Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer, Provanto Sprayday Greenfly 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.
Plants in flower should not be sprayed due to the danger to bees and other pollinating insects.
Inclusion of a pesticide product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by RHS Gardening Advice. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.

Download

Pesticides for gardeners (link downloads pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)

Biology

The pale yellow adult rose leafhoppers are 3.5-4mm long and sit with their wings folded back over their bodies. When disturbed, the adults readily jump and fly short distances. The leafhoppers overwinter as eggs inserted in the leaves and young shoots which hatch in May. The creamy white immature stages, known as nymphs, then begin to feed on the lower leaf surface. They reach the adult stage in July and lay eggs which hatch to produce a second generation.  Overwintering eggs are laid in the autumn but in mild areas the adults may persist until late winter.


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