Cover All Angles When Taking On Threecornered Alfalfa Hoppers

Crops Affected

Threecornered alfalfa hoppers (Spissistilus festinus) have a wide host range that includes alfalfa, clovers, cowpeas, various grasses, small grains, soybeans, sunflowers, melons, tomatoes, and weeds.

Photo by Gerald J. Lenhard
Photo by Gerald J. Lenhard

Identification

The threecornered alfalfa hopper is a triangular-shaped insect with piercing, sucking mouthparts. The green, wedge-shaped bugs are approximately 5 to 6½ millimeters in length. It is a treehopper that takes its name from the hardened triangular (three cornered) area over the thorax. The male is slightly smaller than the female and has a red or orange stripe on its “shoulders.”
Nymphs are grayish white and soft bodied, heavily spined and shaped somewhat similar to the adults. The mature nymphs are slightly smaller than the adult and lack the protective shield-shaped wings.

Threecornered alfalfa hoppers range as far north as Canada, but they are an occasional problem only in the southern U.S. and in northern Mexico. In Florida, they are an occasional problem in vegetables primarily in the northern part of the state.

Both the adult and nymphs of threecornered alfalfa hopper damage plants by feeding on stems and leaves. The insect feeds by inserting its beak into plant tissue and sucking out plant juices. Damage to peanuts and soybeans is characterized by small, brown, chlorotic lesions on stems.
Lesions often will callus over to cause small bumps or raised areas on the stems. In soybeans, callused areas will often break and allow the soybean plant to lodge as soybeans begin to mature and gain weight in late season. Stem feeding in other crops may girdle the stem causing limbs to die-back, reducing yields and increasing the potential for rot.

Survival And Spread

Threecornered alfalfa hoppers overwinter as adults around field margins or as eggs in protected plant tissue. Adults may remain active in the winter during warm periods.
Adults and nymphs emerge in the spring as the weather warms and feed on winter grasses and other weeds. They feed, develop, mate, and migrate into hosts. Females deposit 30 to 40 eggs in host plant stems. Nymphs hatch in two to six weeks. On the average, 50 days elapse between egg deposition and adult emergence. The adults are strong flyers and readily migrate to new fields. There are several generations a year in Florida.

Management Methods

Damaging infestations by the threecornered alfalfa hopper often can be avoided by destroying weedy borders around fields.
In peanuts and other crops, treatment should be initiated when injury and symptoms are present and numerous hoppers are found in the field.

Topics: , ,

Leave a Reply

Insect Control Stories
darkwinged fungus gnat larvae
Fruits
July 12, 2017
How to Deal with Annoying Fungus Gnats on the Farm
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this insect pest. Read More
Close-up of mature diamondback moth
Insect Control
July 7, 2017
Can Genetic Engineering Put an End to Diamondback Moth Plague?
USDA OKs field release of pest with self-limiting gene at Cornell research farm. Read More
Crop Protection
June 25, 2017
Study Suggests Closer-Proximity Lures Help Increase Insect Pest Catches
Research shows single-trap locations are not as effective as those kept close together. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Corn Growers
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
Illustration of CRISPR-Cas9
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your Farm [opinion]
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Fruits
May 31, 2017
Is CRISPR/Cas9 a Viable Solution for the Control of Crop Insect Pests?
Gene editing has the potential to aid growers in control of invasive pests. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Mating Disruption Product Approved
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Crop Protection
May 14, 2017
Springtail Is an Unexpected Vegetable Pest
One springtail species is targeting germinating seeds, impacting seedling growth. Read More
Fruits
May 2, 2017
Penn State Offers Tips To Manage Early Season Orchard Pests
Warm weather has quickly accelerated development of insects. Read More
Crop Protection
April 26, 2017
A Guide to Experts Tips on Vegetable Insect Pests
Here's a resource to quickly reach advice on how to handle insect pests in most regions of the U.S. Read More
UF/IFAS scientist Jonathan Crane inspects avocado trees in South Florida
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Close-up of mature diamondback moth
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Biggest Vegetable Insect Threats for 2017
Entomologists across the country share which pests they see as potential problems for vegetable growers this year. Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Potato Psyllids are Gaining Resistance to Neonicotinoids
Neonicotionoids, a key weapon in the grower’s arsenal against potato psyllids, is becoming less effective, a team of researchers from Texas Read More
Citrus
April 5, 2017
Chlorpyrifos’ Ban Reversed: Researchers React
Last week, EPA declined to ban the pesticide, which had been recommended for removal during the Obama administration. Read More
The Latest
Crop Protection
July 25, 2017
Vegetable Field Scouting Guide: Diamondb…
Due diligence is needed to help take down this pest of biblical proportions. Read More
Fruits
July 14, 2017
Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Predator Egg …
Samuri wasp parasitized egg mass found in Southern New Jersey peach orchard. Read More
Citrus
July 12, 2017
Tomato Pests Can Be Induced to Cannibali…
The University of Wisconsin's John Orrock says when beet armyworms are exposed to concentrations of methyl jasmonate, they will abandon eating tomatoes — and start eating one another. Read More
Fruits
July 12, 2017
How to Deal with Annoying Fungus Gnats o…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this insect pest. Read More
Insect Control
July 7, 2017
Can Genetic Engineering Put an End to Di…
USDA OKs field release of pest with self-limiting gene at Cornell research farm. Read More
Crop Protection
June 25, 2017
Study Suggests Closer-Proximity Lures He…
Research shows single-trap locations are not as effective as those kept close together. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Cor…
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
Citrus
June 15, 2017
Make Way for Life-Saving Science on Your…
While nature always finds a way to adapt, science continues to find other ways to cope. Read More
Fruits
May 31, 2017
Is CRISPR/Cas9 a Viable Solution for the…
Gene editing has the potential to aid growers in control of invasive pests. Read More
Citrus
May 16, 2017
First California Red Scale Aerosol Matin…
EPA, California officials grant Semios approval of pheromone pest control solution for widespread citrus problem. Read More
Crop Protection
May 14, 2017
Springtail Is an Unexpected Vegetable Pe…
One springtail species is targeting germinating seeds, impacting seedling growth. Read More
Fruits
May 2, 2017
Penn State Offers Tips To Manage Early S…
Warm weather has quickly accelerated development of insects. Read More
Crop Protection
April 26, 2017
A Guide to Experts Tips on Vegetable Ins…
Here's a resource to quickly reach advice on how to handle insect pests in most regions of the U.S. Read More
Crop Protection
April 20, 2017
Beetle Battle Burgeoning for South Flori…
Scientists identify more species of pests that vector deadly fungus. Read More
Citrus
April 17, 2017
Natural Enemies for Asian Citrus Psyllid
The eventual spread of Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, to commercial groves in California seems inevitable. But the devastation seen Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Biggest Vegetable Insect Threats for 201…
Entomologists across the country share which pests they see as potential problems for vegetable growers this year. Read More
Crop Protection
April 5, 2017
Potato Psyllids are Gaining Resistance t…
Neonicotionoids, a key weapon in the grower’s arsenal against potato psyllids, is becoming less effective, a team of researchers from Texas Read More
Citrus
April 5, 2017
Chlorpyrifos’ Ban Reversed: Resear…
Last week, EPA declined to ban the pesticide, which had been recommended for removal during the Obama administration. Read More