A Beautiful but Ravenous Over Eater

While many insects rely on camouflage and using every method possible to blend in with their natural surroundings in order to survive, the Candy Striped Leafhopper does the exact opposite. As a matter of fact, they could possibly be the most brilliantly colored insect in North America. Not only do they display a bright color, but a beautiful display of four or five colors in a design that appears as if it has been created by an artist. Although they may be so brightly colored and beautiful to look at, you may have to exert quite the effort to get a good look.

They may be bright, but they are also small and quick. With an adult measuring at just 3/8”, you have to have a keen eye. Couple that fact with their large hind legs well designed for quickly jumping long distances, and they are a speedy little insect to see. Their jumping ability has been reported to propel their small 3/8” body up to fifteen inches in a single and quick hop. That would equate to a human being able to jump up to 240’; an incredible jump indeed. So, when walking through flowers and blackberry bushes in particular, keep watch, you may see one of our most beautiful insects in Tennessee.

Although the amazing color scheme and incredible jumping ability may make this insect interesting enough, it is their eating habits that can be hard to believe. As a general rule the Candy Striped Leafhopper is a herbivores, using their mouth parts to actually suck the juices out of a plant or leaf, rather than eating it. And like a starving man at a buffet, their appetites are ravenous. Once they start eating they will not stop, even though they are stuffed beyond what their bodies can process or hold. Therefore, they eat and eat and eat the delicious plant juices they desire. Rather than stop eating, these juices just build up until they are forced from their bodies and literally pop out of their rear ends. Imagine eating until you are so full that food pops out of your rear. This sounds gross, but it serves a purpose for other insects. This juice that comes out with such force that it actually pops, leaves behind sweet drops of fluid that wasps, bees, flies and ants can feed on. An infestation of Candy Striped Leafhoppers could harm a plant, but normally a few feed on a plant and leave behind damaged leaves or stems. The population is kept under control by a few natural enemies, like birds and spiders, only if they are fast enough to catch this fast jumper.

They can have up to three generations in a mating season and actually puncture plant stems in order to lay their eggs, which hatch in about two to three weeks. They are born looking like a miniature adult, although they molt multiple times in a very short time frame in order to grow to full size within two weeks. Many leafhoppers only live for 30 days, so it takes multiple generations to continue their life cycle from year to year.

With the Candy Striped Leafhopper not being a Nashville Pest Control issue, you can find DIY gardener tips online to protect your flowers and berries if you find it necessary. However with the honeydew excretion they produce, it can draw actual pests, such as ants and wasps that can try and invade your home. If you happen to notice ant trails around and in your house, call Certified Pest Control Nashville to honestly and effectively address your issue. For locally owned and operated family service, give us a call for the personal and detailed Pest Control you deserve.