Most recently reviewed by: Suhas Vyavhare (2018)
Common Name(s): Threecornered Alfalfa Hopper
Pest LocationRow Crop
The adult three-cornered alfalfa hopper is a green, wedge shaped insect about ¼ long. The adults quickly fly when disturbed. The nymphs (immatures) lack wings and have saw-toothed spines on the back.
Origin and Distribution
Found throughout the US, also southern Canada and Central America.
Habitat & Hosts
Three-cornered alfalfa hoppers feed on many hosts, including alfalfa, clovers, cowpeas, grasses (Bermudagrass, Johnsongrass), small grains (barley, oats, wheat), soybean, sunflowers, tomatoes, vetch, and grapes.
Eggs are deposited singly into plant stems and hatch in 2-6 weeks. Nymphs feed for 3-10 weeks, depending on temperature. Development from egg to adult requires about 50 days, and there are 3-4 generations per year in Texas. Adults are strong flyers and readily move between hosts. Adults overwinter in clump grasses and eggs overwinter in plant stems.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
Three-cornered alfalfa hoppers can be pests of alfalfa, soybeans, peanuts and other legumes. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts that are used to penetrate the lower stem and feed on plant sap. Feeding punctures occur about an inch above the soil and can encircle and girdle the stem. Girdled stems become stunted and weakened and can break over (lodge). The leaves on affected stems turn red underneath and light yellow-green on top. Damaged stems that develop these symptoms usually die. Most of the feeding damage is caused by the nymphs, the immature stage. In soybeans, they also feed on and girdle leaf petioles and the small stems that attach flowers and pods to the plant. This damage can result in loss of pods and reduced seed weight.
Information on sampling and controlling three-cornered alfalfa hoppers is presented in the Texas A&M AgriLife Publications “Managing Soybean Insects in Texas” NT0-045 and “Managing Insect Pests of Texas Forage Crops” ENTO-064
“Managing Insect Pests of Texas Forage Crops” ENTO-064 http://agrilife.org/lubbock/files/2017/08/Managing-Insect-Pests-of-Texas-Forage-Crops-ENTO-064-2017.pdf
Managing Soybean Insects in Texas” NT0-045 http://lubbock.tamu.edu/files/2017/04/Managing_Soybean_Insects_ENTO-045.pdf
Images available at: https://bugguide.net/node/view/10001