Leafhopper or Jassid – Symptoms and Damage Prevention
This is an insect that affects crops like Egg plant and Okro. It is a very vivacious little green insect which jumps and sucks the sap by biting the under side of leaves. Insect can attack both at larval and mature stage while the young plants are more sensitive.
Jassids are leafhoppers that feed on eucalyptus and are a major pest of forests (e.g. Eurymela fenestrata). Saliva of some species is toxic to plant tissue.
Damage caused by leafhoppers is usually not severe enough to seriously harm mature plants; however, young plants or new growth can be stunted and/or deformed by leafhopper feeding.
Although Leafhoppers are not known to commonly bite or bother humans, aside from the destruction they can reap on crops, lawns, and gardens. Despite its common name, Leafhopper Assassin Bugs will attack and eat any insect it comes across.
Adult Leafhoppers or Jassid are (2 to 3 mm long) and thin. The wings are held roof like over the abdomen. They are pale green to yellowish green in color, shiny and more or less transparent. The legs are slender with bristles. The nymphs resemble the adults but are smaller and do not have fully developed wings.
Adults and nymphs suck sap from the leaves, remaining on the underside during the day, but also moving to the upper surface during the evening. When disturbed they run sideways rapidly to reach a shady part of the host plant.
Feeding by leafhoppers causes discoloration, and leaf curl, the outer zone of the leaf turns yellow to reddish and whiter later. Heavy leafhopper infestation may retard plant growth and may cause severe yield losses. Cotton fields attacked by leafhoppers are easily recognizable from some distance, owing to their reddish or purple color (“hopperburn”).
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Leafhopper or Jassid Symptoms and Damage
Leaves edges turn yellow and bend up while the borders coloration becomes red-brown and stretches to the intervein tissues.
Another symptom of this insect infestation is that the leaves dry and can fall down. It can lead to yield losses or plant death.
Some of the major ways by which this incident can be controlled is by trying to carry out the following operations:
- Observe parts of crops from the beginning to identify first leafhoppers or it’s symptoms appearance.
- Apply insecticide when first damage appear, particularly at seedling stage. No intervention necessary after fruiting.
- Avoid to grow near Malvaceae (Bissap, cotton plant) or Solanaceae (tomato, pepper, eggplant etc.)
- Use resistant varieties. A number of very hairy varieties have been bred, which are considerable less prone to leafhopper attack than those varieties whose leaves are not or only sparingly covered with hairs. By planting such resistant varieties damage by leafhoppers can be avoided to large extent. In Tanzania, the release of the “Ukiriguru” varieties resistant to leafhoppers and to bacterial blight played a major role in the increase in annual crop production.
- Early sowing helps if the cotton plants have past the most susceptible plant stage during the period after the rainy season, when leafhopper population is at its peak.
- Use repellent plant extracts from: neem, chilli, garlic or Lantana camara
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