Bug Scout 1981
Watch for Leafhoppers in Alfalfa
(Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University)
...997, 998, whew! 999...
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August 15, 1981

It's been a great year for potato leafhoppers.  Leafhoppers are those tiny yellowish-green insects that jump or crawl rapidly out of sight by walking sideways.  They are attracted to lights and show up in great numbers on lighted windows at night.

The potato leafhopper doesn't overwinter in Indiana.  It is carried into the Cornbelt by warm spring winds from the Gulf states.  Once in Indiana, the potato leafhopper can be a severe pest of alfalfa.  Feeding causes a wedge-shaped yellow area on the tip of alfalfa leaves.  This damage lowers the nutritional value of alfalfa and can also affect plant growth.

Evaluate the need for potato leafhopper control in alfalfa by using the sweep net.  The number of leafhoppers needed before control is economical depends on crop height.  For instance, if the alfalfa is under 3 in., treatment should be applied when leafhoppers average 0.2 per sweep.

If you suspect potato leafhopper damage to your alfalfa, an appropriate command is "Gentlemen, start your sweep nets!"

by Tom Turpin, Entomologist, Purdue University

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