NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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Persimmon psyllids or persimmon psyllas, Baeoalitriozus diospyri or Trioza diospyri, are small insects (between 1/8 and 3/16 inch). 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 on a Japanese persimmon leaf. Note the drops of honeydew that two are excreting.

Persimmon psyllids are about the size of a winged aphid.

Photo by J.R. Baker, NC State University

Persimmon psyllid eggs on Japanese persimmon.

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

Photo by J.R. Baker, NC State University

Persimmon psyllid nymphs

Persimmon psyllid nymphs are usually surrounded by white fluff.

Photo by J.R. Baker, NC State University

An almost mature persimmon psyllid nymph

Mature persimmon psyllid nymphs have a white fringe.

Photo by J.R. Baker, NC State University

The cast skin of a mature persimmon psyllid nymph

Persimmon psyllid nymphs leave behind cast skins as they molt.

Photo by J.R. Baker, NC State University

Host Plants

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Persimmon psyllids feed on Japanese persimmon as well as ornamental and native persimmons. Persimmon psyllids inject their saliva and suck out plant juices. Infested leaves are often misshapen. Nymphs secrete white fluff and also cause terminals to twist and become galled. Psyllids also excrete sticky honeydew on which dark sooty molds may grow. Excessive honeydew may disfigure plants or property below the infested foliage.

Typical Persimmon psyllid damage

Persimmon psyllids cause persimmon leaves to pucker and curl.

Photo by Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

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 N.C. Cooperative Extension Center


Professor Emeritus
Entomology & Plant Pathology

Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites:

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

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