Potato Review Group

Contents

Leaf hoppers

Capsid or mirid bugs

Silver Y moth

Potato flea beetles

Further information:

Notes on leaf feeding insects

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Leaf hoppers

  1. Adult leaf hoppers (Empoasca fabae) are 3 – 6 mm long and pale green in colour. They rest on the surface of leaves and when disturbed jump a few feet into the air.
  2. Leaf hoppers are not considered to be a major pest in the UK and there is no evidence that they transmit viruses in the UK. However, in other countries they can transmit the phytoplasmas which cause potato purple top roll and there is some evidence that this could occur in the UK.
  3. Heavy feeding damage causes “hopper burn”: bleached, necrotic spots appear and eventually the leaves turn brown and wilt.
  4. Damage in the UK is rarely economically important and control is unlikely to be cost-effective.

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Capsid or mirid bugs

  1. There a four main species:
    • common green capsid – Lygocoris pabulirus
    • potato capsid – Calocoris norvegicus
    •  tarnished plant bug – Lygus rugulipennis
    • slender grey capsid – Dicyphus errans
  2. Adults migrate into potato crops in June or July and reddish brown necrotic lesions or holes form around puncture point on leaves.
  3. There is no evidence virus transmission in the UK.

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Silver Y moth

  1. Silver Y (Plusia gamma) moths migrate into the UK during the spring and caterpillars feed from June to October.
  2. The caterpillars rarely feed on potatoes but in some seasons damage can be severe.
  3. An aphid control programme which includes pyrethroids is likely to control silver Y moth also.

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Potato flea beetles

  1. These are species of flea beetles which damage potato tubers (Epitrix spp) and which occur in the US.
  2. The beetles have spread to the Azores, Portugal and Spain.
  3. There is a risk that they could be introduced into the UK on tubers imported from these countries.
  4. Adult beetles look similar to pollen beetles and cause “shot hole” type of damage on potato foliage.
  5. The small white larvae burrow channels across the potato skin, causing unsightly blemishes.
  6. Any suspected cases should be reported to FERA.

Use this link for further information.

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Further information

Notes leaf feeding insects

Leaf feeding insects 1999 (Biology and symptoms)

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