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Increase Your Vigil for Potato Leafhoppers

June 22, 2001
The hot, dry weather in a lot of areas of Illinois should encourage you to scout a bit more frequently for potato leafhoppers in alfalfa fields. Potato leafhoppers often cause more injury when the alfalfa plants are suffering from a lack of moisture. Matt Montgomery, Extension unit educator, crop systems, in Sangamon and Menard counties, reported that numbers of leafhoppers have reached and, occasionally, far exceeded economic levels in his area. Dave Feltes, Extension IPM educator in the Quad Cities, and Jim Morrison, Extension crop systems educator in Rockford, observed threshold levels of potato leafhoppers in some of their research plots in Stephenson County on June 15. Although we have not received many reports of alfalfa being treated for control of potato leafhoppers, I imagine that yellowing alfalfa may become more common soon.

In issue no. 7 (May 11, 2001) of the Bulletin, Mike Gray discussed potato leafhoppers in depth, including their appearance, the injury they cause, scouting techniques, economic thresholds, and suggested insecticides. As most of you know, a sweep net is essential if you want to manage potato leafhoppers in alfalfa effectively. All published economic thresholds are based on the numbers of potato leafhoppers per sweep. So, get that net out of the closet and check those fields. Don't wait until the alfalfa turns yellow and economic loss has already occurred.--Kevin Steffey

Author: Kevin Steffey

The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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