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

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 pest 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

Non-pesticide control

Although damage is often unsightly roses are 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. 

Pesticide control

  • To prevent damage plants can be sprayed in spring
  • Two or three applications of insecticide may be necessary since leafhopper eggs are not readily controlled with pesticides
  • 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 some control. These pesticides have a very short persistence and so may require reapplication to keep leafhoppers in 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
  • 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

Downloads

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

Biological control suppliers (Adobe Acrobat pdf document listing biological controls available to gardeners).

Biology

The pale yellow adult insects 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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