NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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This brown planthopper, Cyarda melichari, is a small (1/8 inch long), but spectacular flatid with wings that are much longer than they are wide. The wings narrow noticeably toward the tip and are held up at an angle, giving this insect the appearance of a thorn. Most other flatids are stockier with broad wings. Little has been published on the biology of this insect, but if it behaves like other flatid planthoppers, adults appear in late spring and are found during the summer. Females insert their eggs into the stem or bark of the current year's growth where the eggs spend the rest of the summer, fall, winter and very early spring. Nymphs hatch next spring and summer and feed by sucking sap through needle-like mouthparts inserted into the bark or leaf. Nymphs are pale with brownish spots and small black dots but they product a fluffy, white secretion that obscures the insect. Sometimes small stems may be completely flocked with the secretion. Development from egg to adult probably takes a little over 5 months. Nymphs are wide and somewhat flat. Nymphs can jump 12 to 18 inches when disturbed, hence the name planthopper. We probably have only one generation per year in North Carolina.

Photo of Cyarda melichari planthopper

Cyarda melichari planthoppers are small and resemble thorns.

Host Plants

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Cyarda melichari has been collected from Chinese bushclover (sericea lespedeza). Another species of Cyarda has been reported from Asclepias viridis, and another from pickleweed and "roadside plants."

Residential Recommendations

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Planthoppers and their nymphs can be dislodged by spraying infested shrub with a stream of water from a garden hose. No insecticide is specifically labeled for planthoppers, but insecticides labeled for landscape use should more than adequately suppress them.

Other Resources

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For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension center.

This factsheet has not been peer reviewed.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

Publication date: Nov. 6, 2019
Revised: Nov. 6, 2019

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