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Plant Bugs and Leafhoppers

The plant bug is one of the most common insect species associated with shade and nursery trees in the area.

Plant bugs are sucking insects, which pierce plant tissues and feed on cell liquids. Their saliva is toxic to the plant cells, and a small area around the feeding puncture becomes bleached because of the destruction of chlorophyll. Light to moderate feeding causes yellow stippling and brown spotting of the leaves. Extensive feeding causes tissue death: brown curled areas on leaves that appear burned. To distinguish ash plant bug from various leaf diseases, look for the small varnish-like brown or black excrement spots (frass) left on the underside of leaves.

Leafhoppers can be found on all continents in nearly every habitat that supports vascular plant life, including deserts, grasslands, wetlands , and forests. They are usually found feeding on the above-ground stems or leaves of plants.

All species feed on plant sap. Leafhopper species feed on a wide variety of vascular plant species, including grasses, sedges, broad-leafed woody and herbaceous plants of many families, and conifers. At least one leafhopper species can usually be found feeding on each of the dominant plant species in practically every terrestrial ecosystem. Frequently several leafhopper species can be found coexisting on the same plant.

Approximately 20,000 species have been researched (making Cicadellidae one of the 10 largest families of insects), but many new species are being discovered each year. Based on preliminary samples from Amazonian rainforest canopies, the true number of leafhopper species may exceed 100,000!

Plant bugs and leafhoppers are commonly found together on the same trees in the same areas. One common example is the honey locust, which can display damage from feeding insects in the spring.

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