Cannabis pests- Leafhoppers

In this article:

  • Leafhoppers in general
  • How to recognize a leafhopper infestation
  • How to treat leafhoppers on your cannabis plant?

Leafhoppers in general

Leafhoppers come in many species (+-20.000) and can be find on many places over the world. their colours also have a huge variety and range from bright, red to black, yellow, blue and even purple. When you are growing outside in dry periods, there is a big chance you will come across a few munching on your plants.

All these species and colours makes it very hard to identify your grasshoppers. Next to that they also have multiple stages of life which makes it even harder.

How to recognize a leafhopper infestation?

Recognizing leafhoppers is all about the damage they cause and knowing how that looks like. Leafhoppers won’t leave any other traces like feces or trails. However once they reach a plant they will immediately start devour them. This, off course, will lead to damage of the leaves. Especially when it’s hot and they have an urge for moisture, they will pay a visit to your plants.

They way they eat through your plants leaves a specific kind of damage that is easy to recognize. Leafhoppers won’t take bites out of the leaves, instead they suck the sap out of it leaving a bright white/pale spot that turns bronze over time.

By doin this, the plant won’t be left with any holes or punctures but only shows light-coloured spots (which is typically for leafhoppers).

The image below shows this perfectly:

If you are seeing these type of spots appearing on your plant, you can be 100% sure some leafhopper paid a visit

There are many types of leafhoppers and they can look very different from each other. This makes it hard to be really sure if you are dealing with a leafhopper or other insect. Next to that, they look different in different phases of their life. their shapes, colours and look can be different, but the overall look of a leafhopper stays the same.

You recognize a leafhopper by the following characteristics:

  • Every leafhopper has 6 legs regardless of the species and stage of life they are in.
  • Every leafhopper has wings that are stretched against their bodies.
  • They “slide”/move sideways once they feel threatened (flipping to other side of leaf).
  • They are able to “jump” unlike many other insects. 

How to treat leafhoppers on your cannabis plant?

The methods of treating leafhoppers on your cannabis plants are similair as the methods used when treating leafhoppers. There are multiple options to choose from based on your personal circumstances or preferences. We have listed the most common below:

1. Keep an eye out for them

When growing outdoors, you should always watch your plants very closely! (daily). Not only for leafhoppers, but for pest, bug and fungus. The best way to treat a pest, is to recognize it on time!

In the case of leafhoppers you should pay attention to the noise they make, the specific damage they leave and checking the plants for their presence. Grasshoppers become active once the weather get’s hot and the air dry, so thats when you need to check your plants more often then normally.

Leafhoppers visit your plants for 1 reason: Food! The damage they leave after eating is very specific (See image above) and could be the quickest detection of this pest.

2. Using “row covers” to keep them away

Row covers might not be the #1 choice for some cannabis growers, because it could interfere with humidity levels and other climate factors. However for growers that don’t like to use any pesticides, this could be the answer!

Row covers keep harmful bugs (like grasshoppers) away pretty easily! Next to that they that they are pretty cheap.

Row covers are often made out of very small netting that doesn’t way much. That is why you could just draw it over your plant without hurting it. However make sure this doesn’t leave any “wet-spots” where the net is touching the plant. In that case, build an simple “greenhouse” out of sticks and the row cover.

A row cover being used to keep bugs away from the plants underneath it.

Once your plants get too big/high, it sometimes becomes harder to fully cover them. In that case it’s better to look for other ways of prevention.

Neem oil

If they still manage to get to your plants after watching them and using row covers, you might need to get some “neem oil”. This product is 100% naturel, however there is some evidence that neem oil could be harmfull for humans. Next to that it has quite some unpleasant smell/taste to it so make sure you don’t spray it too close to your buds (and don’t use too much).