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This NebGuide explains how to detect and manage potato leafhoppers to minimize alfalfa damage.
The potato leafhopper is capable of causing serious damage to alfalfa in Nebraska. This insect overwinters in the gulf states and migrates northward in the spring, usually in April or early May. During the summer months, several generations develop while feeding primarily on legumes such as alfalfa and clover. Although an occasional host, soybeans rarely suffer economic damage, particularly with the pubescent (i.e. hairy) soybean varieties that are commonly grown today. Infested potatoes also can sustain economic damage from this insect. Generally, the potato leafhopper is an economic pest in only the eastern one-third of the state but it will occasionally spread and cause major problems in other portions of the state.