Sharpshooter leafhoppers

Asked August 17, 2019, 8:47 PM EDT

I have hundreds of sharpshooter leafhoppers all over my yard. There are so many that you cannot sit in the yard without having them all over you. Is there anything I can use that's not harmful to pets, people and the environment to get rid of them. It makes me also wonder if they are the cause of lightened, yellowing and dying grass. Thank you R.Harvey

King County Washington

1 Response

Mr. Harvey,
Leafhoppers can be economically important pests in agriculture, but in a residential setting I suspect they are a nuisance, as you described in your email. The symptoms that you observe on grasses is somewhat plausible, but unless we can observe from a good resolution picture your backyard situation (suspected injury plants as well as the layout of your yard), it is difficult to answer with certainty whether the injury observed if actually due to the leafhoppers. Unfortunately, for residential landscapes, controlling adults is not feasible, especially because it is uncertain whether any damage has occurred to the plants other than the insects being a nuisance to you. I refer you to the University of California IPM website that discusses leafhoppers in residential yards and gardens.
You can link to the website using the URL: I would avoid using any insecticide as a solution to the problem as you've described it because you've described a situation that is more likely caused by the adults. For the immature stages (the insects look like adults but without wings that cover the abdomen) the UC IPM site recommends an oil or soap.