Field Crops

Insect Predators of Potato Leafhoppers

In the Midwest, potato leafhoppers are important pests in alfalfa and potatoes. Previous research had reported some conflicting information on the feeding habits of different predatory insects. Laboratory studies examined the relative importance of several different predator species in feeding on eggs, nymphs and adults of potato leafhoppers.

Potato leafhoppers insert their eggs into plant stems. Both Orius insidiosus (Anthocoridae) and Reduviolus americoferus (Nabidae) were able to locate and feed on potato leafhopper eggs on broad bean, Vicia faba. Orius appeared to be a more efficient egg predator than the nabid species.

Other studies examined the ability of lady beetle (Hippodamia convergens and Coccinella novemnotata) adults and larvae, green lacewing (Chrysopa carnea) adults and larvae and nabid (R. americoferus) adults to consume nymphal and adult potato leafhoppers. Adult lady beetles of both species killed 2.2-2.6 nymphs per day, and 2.7-3.2 adult leafhoppers per day. Larval lady beetles killed 2.6-3.0 nymphs and 2.2 adult leafhoppers per day. Adult and larval H. convergens consumed more leafhopper nymphs and adults than C. novemnotata. Larval green lacewings killed 2.2 nymphs and 2.0 adults per day, but adult green lacewings killed 0.4 nymphs and 2.1 adults leafhoppers per day. Adult nabids killed 2.2 nymphs and 1.9 adult leafhoppers per day.

Information on consumption rates needs to be integrated with information on the relative density of different predator species to determine their importance in the field. In Virginia alfalfa fields, Orius represented 35% of the total predators, R. americoferus, 32%, lady beetles, 24% and green lacewings only 9%.


D. G. Martinez and R. L. Pienkowski. 1982. Laboratory studies on insect predators of potato leafhopper eggs, nymphs and adults. Environ. Entomol. 11: 361-362.

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