These small sap-sucking insects cause mottling on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs. Vigour of plants is rarely affected.
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?
The leafhoppers are a family (Cicadellidae) of sap sucking true bugs, there are more than 180 species found in Britain. They can jump or fly short distances and most do not feed on or cause noticeable damage to garden plants. Find out more about British species from British bugs
Rose leafhopper feeds on the leaves of roses and some other rosaceous trees and shrubs such as hawthorn and rowan. They readily jump away if disturbed and can cause a mottling on leaves of affected plants, especially those in hot dry situations. They are seldom noticed of any plants but roses in Britain and often do not affect the vigour of garden plants.
Although the mottling can be obvious roses are often able to withstand large leafhopper populations and where possible damage can be tolerated and treated as part of garden biodiversity. 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 population has developed. When choosing management options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section and avoiding pesticides. Within pesticides the shorter persistence products (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. Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and are only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached.
- Tolerate the mottling caused by rose leafhopper it often has no effect on plant vigour or flowering, and teh insect is part of the biodiversity gardens support
- Encourage predators and other natural enemies of leafhoppers, in the garden, such as birds, ladybirds, wasps and ground beetles
The RHS believes that avoiding pests, diseases and weeds by good practice in cultivation methods, cultivar selection, garden hygiene and encouraging or introducing natural enemies, should be the first line of control. If chemical controls are used, they should be used only in a minimal and highly targeted manner.
- Organic sprays, such as natural pyrethrum (e.g. Bug Clear Ultra 2, Neudorff Bug Free Bug and Larvae Killer) or plant oils (e.g. Vitax Plant Guard Pest & Disease Control, Bug Clear Fruit & Veg, Vitax Rose Guard) 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
- Plant invigorators combine nutrients to stimulate plant growth with surfactants or fatty acids that have a physical mode of action against leafhoppers (e.g. Ecofective Bug Control, Growing Success Bug Stop, Rose Clear 3 in 1 Action SB Plant Invigorator and Westland Resolva Natural Power Bug & Mildew). These products contain some synthetic ingredients and so 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)
- A systemic containing the active ingredient Flupyradifurone (Provanto Smart Bug Killer) is available
- 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.
Pesticides for gardeners (link downloads pdf document outlining pesticides available to gardeners)
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 live until late winter.
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