NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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Persimmon psyllids or persimmon psyllas, Baeoalitriozus diospyri or Trioza diospyri, are small insects about the size of large winged aphids. Adults hold their wings high over their bodies, and they jump readily. Nymphs are flattened and less active than adults and they secrete a white fluff. Older nymphs also secrete a slender fringe around the periphery. Females lay eggs that hatch and develop through about five growth stages before maturing into winged adults. Psyllids become abundant in spring when temperatures warm and host plants produce new, tender growth. Development from egg to adult takes only a few weeks in spring. Hot weather can suppress persimmon psyllid populations. On native persimmon, these psyllids can be temporarily abundant; but their populations soon decline naturally, as they are attacked by their natural enemies, including parasitic wasps.

Persimmon psyllids

Persimmon psyllids are about the size of a winged aphid.

Persimmon psyllid eggs

Persimmon psyllid eggs are very, very small and shaped like slender footballs.

Persimmon psyllid nymphs

Persimmon psyllid nymphs are usually surrounded by white fluff.

Mature persimmon psyllid nymph

Mature persimmon psyllid nymphs have a white fringe.

cast skin

Persimmon psyllid nymphs leave behind cast skins as they molt.

Host Plants

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Persimmon psyllids feed on Japanese persimmon as well as ornamental and native persimmons. Persimmon psyllids suck plant juices and excrete sticky honeydew on which dark sooty molds may grow. Nymphs secrete white fluff and cause terminals to twist and become galled. Excessive honeydew may damage plants or property below the infested foliage.

Persimmon psyllids cause persimmon leaves to pucker and curl.

Persimmon psyllids cause persimmon leaves to pucker and curl.

Residential Recommendations

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Minimize shearing or clipping of terminals during the growing season. Shearing stimulates new growth preferred by psyllids for feeding and egg laying. Prune plants just above branch crotches and nodes instead of shearing off terminals. Horticultural oils suppress adult and immature persimmon psyllids without leaving a toxic residue that might harm beneficial insects and mites. Most insecticides labeled for residential landscape use will give adequate control although the pyrethroids are harsh on beneficials.

Other Resources

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

Author

Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Publication date: Nov. 7, 2018
Revised: Oct. 9, 2019

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