These small plant bugs can cause a big problem for gardeners. Leafhoppers are tiny wedge-shaped destructive insects of the order Hemiptera.
They are abundant worldwide, with at least 20,000 species in a variety of colors . Most leafhoppers are about a quarter of an inch long.
Both wingless nymphs and winged adults are sap-sucking insect pests. Leafhoppers damage may result in yellowing and stippling of foliage, as well as leaf curl.
Here’s how to get rid of leafhoppers naturally.
1. Row covers
One of the best natural methods to keep away leafhoppers and other insects is to use floating row covers. It gives plenty of protection from insect attacks.
However, the type of material used for this allows light and water to the growing plants.
Put the covers on before plants flower and remove them to let pollinators in once the flowering period begins.
This method works particularly well in the vegetable garden.
2. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
This white powder is composed of the fossilized remains of minute aquatic organisms. Spread around plants, its sharp edges will cut into the pest’s bodies, causing dehydration and death.
Moreover, diatomaceous earth is effective at all stages of the life cycle of these insects. You can easily sprinkle it on and around your plants. However, you will need to reapply after rain showers or watering
You can also apply to lawns, flower beds, fruit trees, and bushes.
Furthermore, you can use DE to make a homemade leafhopper spray. Just combine 5 tablespoons of it with a gallon of water and coat your plants.
3. Beneficial Insects
This natural form of insect control is one of the most important aspects of organic gardening.
Some insects are predatory. They are able and willing to consume large numbers of the eggs, larvae, and even adult stages of insect pests, including the leafhopper bug.
Leafhopper predators include ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, and damsel bugs. Additionally, some parasitic wasps parasitize leafhopper eggs .
Moreover, you can purchase some of these beneficial insects from reputable online stores such as Arbico.
4. Garden Clean-Up
An excellent home remedy to keep away these and other insect pests is to clean your garden thoroughly.
Keeping the garden clear of trash, dead plants, and debris will help prevent leafhoppers from overwintering. A good clean-up after harvest time in the fall is good gardening practice.
5. Destroy Infected Plants
A bad leafhopper infestation may require drastic action. Some rather ruthless removal of infected plants may save the rest of the crop.
Leafhopper damage will spoil plants. They may also leave a sticky residue (honeydew) that encourages sooty mold as well as other insect pests.
To avoid this spreading to other plants, carefully remove the infected plants. Next, dispose of them away from your garden. This will remove the insects, larvae, and any fungal spores.
Additionally, remove any pots that the plants have been growing in. Wash and disinfect them before using them again.
6. Sticky Traps
This is a simple way of attracting and killing leafhoppers and a host of other garden pests.
You can buy these traps online or at local garden centers. Alternatively, make a DIY leafhopper trap. Get pieces of cardboard and coat them with a sticky substance like non-drying glue or molasses.
Different colors seem to attract different pests but yellow is generally the best. Hang the sticky traps near your plants and around the house.
7. Insecticidal Soap
Spray your plants with an insecticidal soap such as Bonide during a heavy infestation.
Cover the leaves and stems completely (including the undersides of leaves). Additionally, apply the solution around the plant bases.
Use this organic leafhopper control spray as a preventative measure or as soon as the first pests arrive. Repeat until the infestation clears up.
8. Control Weeds
Leafhopper insects breed and feed on a variety of crops including vegetables and annual flowers. However, they can also thrive in grasses and weeds.
Therefore, keeping the garden clear of weeds will help control these pests.
This product is an organic knock-down spray that you can use to get rid of leafhoppers organically.
The active ingredient is azadirachtin, derived from the Neem tree. Azadirachtin is an age-old powerful insecticide.
Molt-X effects a multi-action control on pests at all stages of the life cycle by inhibiting feeding and development. Slow-acting, this leafhopper insecticide eventually kills the critters and prevents an infestation.
Use according to the manufacturer’s recommendations as a foliar spray or soil drench. Furthermore, Molt-X does not leave a residue on plants.
10. Monterey Take Down Spray
This is another commercial knock-down spray that kills on contact. Moreover, it is safe to use on food crops up to a day before harvest.
This leafhopper treatment is effective in controlling these insects at all stages of development. It works on the eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Monterey Take Down is a pyrethrin-based spray.
Additionally, it contains canola oil. With this ingredient, it acts as a surfactant, protecting plants from overwintering pests.
11. Neem Oil
Neem oil has multiple benefits as an insecticide and fungicide. The oil controls a host of insect pests by reducing feeding. It also acts as a repellent for some garden pests.
It works great for controlling pest problems in vegetable patches, flower beds, and fruit trees.
Does neem oil kill leafhoppers? It may not kill the adults, but it works well on leafhopper eggs and nymphs.
As a concentrate, mix 1 to 2 ounces per gallon of water and spray all plant surfaces.
Leafhoppers are found throughout the world. These organic methods, applied carefully, can help rid the garden of these and other pests effectively.