NC State Extension Publications

Description and Biology

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The redbanded leafhopper, Graphocephala coccinea, is also called the candy-striped leafhopper as well as the red-and-blue leafhopper, red-banded leafhopper, scarlet-and-green leafhopper because of its bright red and blue (or green) markings on the wings and thorax. Its head, legs and under parts are bright yellow. These leafhoppers are usually 1/4 to 5/16 inch long. They frequent woodlands, meadows, and landscapes. 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.

Red-banded leafhopper

Red-banded leafhoppers feed on may ornamental plants.

Red-banded leafhoppers

Red-banded leafhoppers feed on leaves and tender stems.

Host Plants

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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 (leaf scorch) to grape, oak, elm, sycamore, and other trees and shrubs.

Residential Recommendations

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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. Consider using a pyrethroid insecticide because pyrethroids are effective for such leaf feeders, they have a long residual life on the plant, and they are relatively safe for humans and pets when used as directed (but they are really toxic to fish!). Pyrethroids labeled for residential landscapes are readily available in most big box stores, plant centers, and nurseries. Active ingredients of any pesticide are listed on the front label of any pesticide package by law—usually in very small font near the bottom of the label. The active ingredients of pyrethroid insecticides all end with "-thrin."


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This Factsheet has not been peer reviewed.


Professor Emeritus
Entomology and Plant Pathology

Publication date: Sept. 22, 2017
Revised: June 30, 2022

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