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The apple leafhopper (Canary Fly) looks like a tiny cicada (3-4 mm long); greenish-yellow in colour with red eyes. During autumn, female leafhoppers lay their eggs under soft bark which hatch in Spring. Infestation of this pest tends to be worse in dry years.
Plant Part: Leaves
Season: Spring - Summer
Symptoms: In the warmer months, they are usually found under the leaves where they feed on the sap resulting in the leaf turning yellow and in extreme cases causing them to fall off. If your apple tree is heavily infected, the fruit may appear speckled from the insects’ excrement – this is superficial and can be washed off.
Control: Look at trying sticky traps or try a soap spray like Natrasoap.
Prevention: Little can be done to prevent infestations of this pest; keep your apple tree well weeded underneath the canopy, properly watered and well ‘balanced’ to allow good air circulation.
Resources: NSW Department of Primary Industries. Plantvilliage.psu.edu, BC Tree Fruit Production Guide, New England Tree Fruit Management Guide, and of course our FST team.
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