The species Empoasca fabae is commonly know as the potato leafhopper. This insect is a significant pest to numerous species of plants causing significant losses in a variety of species, including potatoes, beans and alfalfa. Leafhoppers prefer new seedlings and re-growths. The crop damage from leafhopper results from the leafhopper injecting a protein in the plant tissue while feeding. The protein blocks the nutrient and water flow inhibiting nutrient uptake and photosynthesis. The leaves may turn yellow and curl up, a symptom referred to as leafhopper burn (epinastia).
The adult potato leafhopper is bright green in colour and wedge shaped, measuring approximately 3 mm long. The nymphs are very similar in shape to the adults; however, they are wingless and slightly smaller.
Scout the field by taking sweep net samples of 20 sweeps at 5 varying locations. Count the leafhoppers per sweep. If more than 5 are recorded, an insecticide application may be required.