Description and Biology
The redbanded leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea, is also called the candy-striped leafhopper because of its bright red and blue markings on the wings and thorax. Its head, legs and under parts are bright yellow. These leafhoppers are usually 3/8 inch long. They frequent woodlands and meadows. Leafhoppers suck out sap from leaves and stems. They expel excess sugars and liquids forcefully as tiny droplets. Leafhopper adults typically emerge in spring and after feeding and mating, lay eggs in leaf veins, shoots and stems.Eggs hatch about 10 days later. Nymphs are wingless and gradually grow wing pads as they molt and grow. Adults appear about a month later (sometimes more quickly in hot weather). We probably have more than one generation per year in North Carolina.
Redbanded leafhoppers feed on fruit bushes and ornamental plants including crapemyrtle, rhododendron, roses, and Scotch broom. As this leafhopper uses its mouthpart to pierce and suck plant sap, it also injects its saliva. It can transmit Pierce’s Disease or leaf scorch to oak, elm, sycamore, and other trees.
Control of redbanded leafhoppers is complicated in that they fly (and hop) readily so that ornamental plants may be re-infested shortly the application of an insecticide of short residual activity such as insecticidal soaps, neem extracts, horticultural oils, and even Sevin. That being written, because of its huge feral population, this leafhopper will probably never develop resistance to insecticides so that any insecticide labeled for home landscape use should give more than adequate control.
- Red-banded Leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea (Order Hemiptera, Family Cicadellidae). Balthazor, A. A. 2011. Ninnescah Field Station, Wichita State University
- Leafhoppers (Hemiptera: Cicadomorpha: Cicadellidae). Dietrich, C. H. 2008. Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
- Checklist of Leafhopper Species 1758-1955 (Hemiptera: Membracoidea: Cicadellidae and Myserslopiidae) with Synonymy and Distribution. McKaney, S. H. 2013. USDA Agricultural Research Service, Systematic Entomology Laboratory.
- Red-banded Leafhopper. Pavade, N. 2015. UC Davis Art-Science Fusion: Painting & Entomology.
- Candy-Striped Leafhopper - (Graphocephala coccinea). Staff Writer, 2017. Insect Identification for the casual observer.
- Extension Plant Pathology Publications and Factsheets
- Horticultural Science Publications
- North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual
For assistance with a specific problem, contact your local Cooperative Extension Center.
This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.
Publication date: Sept. 22, 2017
Revised: Oct. 26, 2019
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