Insects (Maine Cranberries) - Blunt-nosed Leafhopper
Order: Homoptera || Family: Cicadellidae
Scientific Name: Limotettix (=Scleroracus) vaccinii (Van Duzee)
Not seen in Maine’s recent cranberry history (1996-present) until the 2009 growing season, when it was found at two separate locations, with a large outbreak at one of those locations.
Notes: This is a sucking insect, and most of the feeding is done throughout the nymphal stages, when they are wingless (only the adults have wings). The nymphs (see photos below) need to molt a total of five times before becoming adults, and this development period lasts about one month (essentially all of June and possibly into the early part of July for some Maine locations). In high numbers, leafhoppers will drain the vines significantly (robbing the stems of water and sugar), but most importantly, it is a known carrier of the plant phytoplasm (virus-like pathogen) known as False Blossom, which threatened the entire cranberry industry nationwide in the early 1900s and was so bad in New Jersey that it is said to have nearly ended their cranberry industry there altogether. Rare pockets of False Blossom are still found in wild bogs on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
A Blunt-nosed Leafhopper nymph (May 19th, 2010)
You can learn more about this pest on pages 61 to 63 of A.L. Averill & M.M. Sylvia’s book, Cranberry Insects of the Northeast [book can be ordered from the UMass Cranberry Station by clicking here].
Photos by Charles Armstrong.
Cranberry questions? Contact Charles Armstrong, Cranberry Professional. University of Maine Cooperative Extension || Pest Management Office || 491 College Avenue || Orono, ME 04473-1295 || Tel: 207.581.2967 [email: firstname.lastname@example.org]