Rhododendron Leafhopper, Rhododendron Leafhopper
The Rhododendron Leafhopper was introduced to Britain during the 1930s but originated from the USA. Like many leafhoppers, it has specialised to feed on one type of plant, and that's Rhododendrons. They're a real bug, so are closely related to aphids and psyllids. They suck the sap from plants using modified mouthpieces, which resemble needle-like straws, and this makes them perfect vectors for passing diseases plant to plant. These insects have been linked with the fungal infection bud blast (Seifertia azalea), but there's currently no evidence to support this.
Leafhoppers are a vital food resource for predatory insects, like ladybirds!
Due to their fine filament feeding tubes, these insects are capable of spreading disease in plants.
These insects are small (8-10mm). The wings are held flat against the back, and they're bright green with two orange stripes. The faces, legs and stomachs are yellow. Leafhoppers are also called froghoppers because their faces seem frog-like. Find adults basking on the leaves of the host plant during sunny days. Nymphs (juvenile leafhoppers) are smaller, flat, and creamy white. Tip: Distinguish froghoppers (Superfamily: Cercopoidea) from leafhoppers (Family: Cicadellidae) using the hind legs. A leafhopper will have 1 to 3 rows of fine, thin, spines, whereas; a froghopper possesses 2 wide and thick spines on the outer edge of the hindleg.
Leafhoppers are a food resource for spiders, parasitic wasps and small insect-eating birds, so attracting these to your garden will limit the damage caused by these bugs. This can be done by planting pollinator-friendly flowers to incorporating some form of bug-friendly habitat. Alternatively, insects may be picked off and squashed. If plants become infected with bud blast, they should be removed and disposed of appropriately.
There are chemical alternatives available for home use, and they vary in the degree of persistence and strength. These include organic sprays containing natural pyrethrums; winter washes containing natural plant oils; and lastly, the more persistent chemicals which incorporate synthetic pyrethroids. If a chemical treatment is sought, please 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 dangers they pose to pollinators.