Elaeagnus sucker

Elaeagnus sucker is a sap sucking insect that can cause distortion to the leaves of Elaeagnus. Although it does not usually affect the vigour of the plant.

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Elaeagnus sucker adult
Elaeagnus sucker adult

Quick facts

Common name: Elaeagnus sucker
Scientific name: Cacopsylla fulguralis
Plants affected: Elaeagnus × ebbingei, E. pungens, E. macrophylla, E. glabra, E. cuprea and E. oldhamii
Main symptoms: Distorted leaves, honeydew and sooty mould
Most active: February to September

What is Elaeagnus sucker?

The psyllids or plant suckers are a group of sap sucking true bugs (Hemiptera). There are more than 40 species found in Britain. Many species produce a white waxy secretion during the immature (nymph) stages and some cause distortion and galling to host plants. Most however, do not cause any significant damage to garden plants. More information on Psyllids from in Britain can be found at British Bugs.


sucker originates from eastern Asia and was first detected in Britain in 2002. It has spread rapidly and now occurs throughout most of England and parts of Wales. It was feared that this sucker would become a major problem for Elaeagnus however, the high populations seen soon after the insects arrival, no longer occur. This suggests that natural enemies may be having an effect on this insect helping to keep it at levels at which serious plant damage does not occur. 


Plants with large populations of elaeagnus sucker become covered with honeydew, a sugary excrement from the suckers, on which can grow a black sooty mould. New growth is often distorted and some damaged leaves may drop off.  This type of damage is uncommon.


Eleagnus sucker can affect the appearance of Eleagnus but does not usually reduce the vigour of Eleagnus plants and so control is not necessary. Plant suckers can be a part the biodiversity a heathy garden supports. 

  • Often suckers do not affect the growth or vigour of plants and so can be tolerated
  • Encourage predators and other natural enemies of suckers, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps and ground beetles
  • If necessary distorted leaves can be removed from the plant however, this may cause more damage than the insect



Adult elaeagnus sucker are 2-4mm long and have two pairs of have transparent wings with black shading which are held roof-like over their abdomen when at rest. The orange-yellow nymphs are wingless and flattened so the width of their bodies is much greater than the depth. Older nymphs have large pads on the margins of the upper thorax where the wings will develop.

It has several generations during the summer with the largest populations occurring on the new growth in the spring. It probably overwinters as eggs which hatch in mid-February. 

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