Pittosporum Sucker , Pittosporum Psyllid
A pittosporum sucker belongs to the second largest family of psyllids. A sucker (sometimes referred to as psyllid or jumping plant louse) is a soft-bodied insect that gets its name from the way it feeds on plant material. Together with aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies, they form the suborder called Sternorrhyncha. These suckers are particularly tiny, growing as large as 5mm. Many suckers are specify feeding on single plant species, with these being specialised feeders of Pittosporums. Feeding activity can cause yellow bulging and areas of distorted growth, although vigour remains unaffected in most cases.
A good food resource for predatory insects.
These suckers can cause distorted growth in the plants they infest.
Adults are typically small (3-5mm). They are a pastel mint green proceeding a moult, but this fades to a greyish-brown-red with age. Sometimes dark abdominal banding is evident. The wings are large in relation to the body. Nymphs are flat, whiteish-yellow, and look a little bit like soft scale insects. This sucker looks similar to several other species of plant louse so ID isn't always straight-forward. If the insect is found on Pittosporum plant, then it's likely a Pittosporum sucker.
Their feeding can cause distorted growth in infested plants. Nymphs can produce galls in plants. Younger leaves tend to be most hard hit.
The Pittosporum sucker first originated in New Zealand but are now present in France, Ireland and the UK.
If infestations are heavy, it's advised to pick off the infected leaves. Use these pests to attract natural enemies to your garden, such as hoverfly larvae. This can be done by planting an array of pollinator-friendly flowers that bloom almost year-round. There are organic pesticides containing natural pyrethrum which can be effective against suckers. These must be applied on the effective site over a series of applications. Please read instructions prior to application.
Pesticides applied during spring are most effective because it's at this time the nymphs (juvenile suckers) are present. Please consider if chemical control is essential. If a chemical option is sought, check with your local garden centre and please take care to follow the manufacturers' instructions. Check with your local regulating body for guidance on active ingredients and their authorisation for use. Plants that are in flower should never be sprayed due to the danger they pose to pollinators.