Integrated Pest Management

Leafhoppers on Ornamentals

Adult leafhopper on honeylocust plant. Adult leafhopper on honeylocust plant.
Leafhoppers cause a stipling pattern of injury, along leaf veins.Leafhoppers cause a stipling pattern of injury, along leaf veins.


  • Many deciduous trees and shrubs, but rose and crabapple are commonly hosts in Utah


Leafhoppers are commonly found in landscapes throughout Utah. There are many species, including the rose leafhopper and the white apple leafhopper. They feed by sucking plant sap through piercing-sucking mouthparts. Adults are pale-yellow to olive green, and are about ¼-inch long. They may be confused for whiteflies due to their coloration and quick flight. Nymphs are similar in size, but without wings, and only occur on the undersides of leaves.


Most species overwinter in the egg stage in the bark of the host plant or among the fallen host plant leaves. Eggs hatch in the spring and 5 nymphal stages are passed before the adult stage is reached. The potato leafhopper overwinters as adults. Depending on the species, there are commonly 2 generations per year, with the second generation emerging about early to mid-August.


  • White stippled areas on leaves, usually along leaf veins
  • Tiny spots of dark excrement on the undersides of leaves
  • Premature leaf drop


Control of leafhoppers depends upon monitoring their presence and development. If a treatment is necessary, it should be applied when nymphs are present. Sprays applied after adults appear are less likely to be effective. Monitor for nymphs by inspecting the undersides of leaves starting in mid-May.


Numerous formulations of the following options are labeled for leafhopper control on various ornamental plants:

Residential and commercial options include acephate, acetamipirid, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin and many others.

Organic options include azadirachtin, neem oil, insecticidal soap, and pyrethrin.

Precautionary Statement: Utah State University and its employees are not responsible for the use, misuse, or damage caused by application or misapplication of products or information mentioned in this document. All pesticides are labeled with ingredients, instructions, and risks, and not all are registered for edible crops. “Restricted use” pesticides may only be applied by a licensed applicator. The pesticide applicator is legally responsible for proper use. USU makes no endorsement of the products listed in this publication.