Garden fleahoppers feed on a wide range of garden, ornamental, and forage plants as well as many weeds and grasses. Vegetable crops that may be damaged include beans, beets, cabbage, celery, com, cowpeas, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.
This insect causes pale spots to appear on the leaves by sucking sap from the foliage. These spots gradually merge to produce extensive discoloration. Heavily infested foliage dies and drops from the plant.
Overwintering appears to occur primarily as eggs inserted in plant tissue during August and September. However, late maturing adults are reported to go into hibernation, and some of these may survive the winter and lay eggs in the spring. Nymphs emerge in the spring and feed on the undersides of the leaves. They mature in 11 to 35 days, depending on the temperature. Adults live 1 to 3 months. Each female lays about 100 eggs. The eggs are deposited into punctures made by the mouthparts, mostly in leaves or leaf petioles. About 12 to 20 days later, eggs hatch and the life cycle is repeated. There are probably five generations per year in Oklahoma.
There are three forms of garden fleahopper adults: slender long-winged females, oval-bodied short-winged females, and slender long-winged males. All forms are black and have long legs and antennae. They are less than 1/8 inch long. They usually move by jumping but are also capable of flying. The nymphs (immature bugs) range from pale yellow to dark green. Nearly mature nymphs have a distinctive black spot on each side of the first segment behind the head. They are active insects that readily jump when disturbed.
Please contact your local county extension office for current information.