NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The Japanese maple leafhopper, Japananus hyalinus, has also been called the Asian maple leafhopper. This is a fairly distinctive leafhopper with its greenish-yellow head and whitish/translucent wings that have three rusty to dark brown bands across them. Males are slightly smaller than the 3/16 inch long females. Adult Japanese maple leafhoppers are very active and move readily when disturbed. This leafhopper overwinters as eggs inserted under the bark near buds on the latest twig growth. Eggs are about 1/32 inch long; sometimes tips of eggs actually show through the split in the bark the female makes as she sticks the egg in. Sometime the next spring the eggs hatch and the tiny new nymphs begin to feed from the phloem tissue on the lower surfaces of leaves in the shadier parts of the tree. Nymphs develop through five stages as they grow, and by mid June they molt into adults. When abundant, the activity of Japanese maple leafhoppers sounds like rainfall close to an infested tree! The Japanese maple leafhopper was probably introduced from the Orient on dormant Japanese maple nursery stock sometime in the late 1800's. Adult Japanese maple leafhoppers have been collected from June through October in North Carolina. In more northern areas, it has been reported to have a single generation a year. Because of its long flight period, the Japanese maple leafhopper probably has at least two generations per year here in North Carolina.

Japanese maple leafhopper

Japanese maples are highly likely to be infested with Japanese maple leafhoppers.

Japanese maple leafhoppers have three bands

Japanese maple leafhoppers have three bands across the wings.

Japanese maple leafhoppers have greenish-yellow heads.

Japanese maple leafhoppers have greenish-yellow heads.

Japanese maple leafhoppers are attracted to yellow stick traps

Like many leafhoppers, Japanese maple leafhoppers are attracted to yellow stick traps.

Host Plants

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The Japanese maples, Acer japonicum and Acer palmatum are readily infested. The Japanese maple leafhopper has also adapted to boxelder, Norway maple, red maple, silver maple, and other maples. Unlike some other leafhoppers, the Japanese maple leafhopper does not seem to produce any signs or symptoms on its host plants.

Residential Recommendations

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Because of the wide host range most of which is never sprayed with insecticides, it is not likely that Japanese maple leafhoppers are resistant to pesticides. Most contact insecticides should give more than adequate control. Consider one of the pyrethroids labeled for landscape use should the need to manage this pest arise.

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.

Author

Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Publication date: June 18, 2019
Revised: Sept. 25, 2019

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