How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
Scientific name: Circulifer tenellus
(Reviewed 11/05, updated 1/10)
In this Guideline:
DESCRIPTION OF THE PEST
The beet leafhopper is approximately 0.125 inches long, wedge-shaped, and pale green to gray or brown in color. It may have dark markings on the upper surface of the body. It can be distinguished from Empoasca leafhoppers by its darker markings; Empoasca leafhoppers are a uniform green color. Beet leafhopper overwinters on rangeland weeds and migrates to sugarbeet and other crops in spring as its overwintering hosts die.
Direct feeding by beet leafhopper causes relatively minor damage. Its pest status derives from its transmission of Beet curly top virus and other related viruses. Beet curly top virus is an extremely destructive disease of sugarbeet as well as other crops (e.g., tomatoes). The leaves of plants infected with this virus are dwarfed, crinkled, and rolled upward and inward. Veins are roughened and often swollen. Roots become distorted, often with a proliferation of hair roots (not to be confused with Rhizomania). Phloem tissue often becomes necrotic and appears as dark rings in cross sections or dark streaks in longitudinal sections of the root.
Weed control in areas surrounding the field can help reduce sources of Beet curly top virus inoculum.
Removal of weeds and volunteer beets surrounding sugarbeet fields can play an important role in reducing sources of inoculum available to migrating leafhoppers.
Monitoring and Treatment Decisions
Foliar insecticides have not proven to be generally effective in controlling beet leafhopper or reducing the incidence of Beet curly top virus when applied directly to the sugarbeet crop. Occasionally systemic insecticides have proven valuable in reducing the incidence of this virus. The effectiveness of these materials depends on the climatic factors affecting weed hosts of the leafhopper and the virus, timing of planting and application of materials relative to leafhopper migration, and proximity of fields to leafhopper and virus overwintering sites.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines:
Insects and Mites
E.T. Natwick, UC Cooperative Extension Imperial County