What are Hackberry Psyllids?
Hackberry Psyllids are alphid-like lice. These pests are also called the Jumping Plant Lice or Hackberry Nipplegall. In Nebraska, Hackberry Psyllids are also referred to “locusts”. Usually, these pests are seen on warm afternoons in autumn, especially in large swarms. These insects are quite attracted to light-colored things. In winter, they hide in small places like cracks, tree barks, and crevices.
What Do Hackberry Psyllids Look Like?
These insects are around 1/6 inches in length and 3/16 inches wide. They have these distinctive hind legs that enable them to jump. Since they are of the same order as aphids, cicadas, and leaf hoppers, it makes perfect sense that the adult Hackberry Psyllids look like miniature cicadas, measuring about 5 to 6 mm.
These bugs are dark colored, having tawny markings. They have whitish forewings with some black spots in it. A mature nymph has a head that is green in color that has brown markings. Its thorax is also green, having about four light reddish-brown stripes. Nymphs have brown wing pads and a green abdomen with dark brown bands.
The Life Cycle of the Hackberry Psyllids
In spring, they come out of hibernation and start its reproductive cycle. Female Hackberry Psyllids lay eggs over the newly unfolded leaves, which occur over several weeks – starting when the leaves recently unfolded from its bud. It feeds inside the gall formed when the leaves gain an abnormal growth caused by these insects. They spend the rest of the summer feeding inside the gall.
Identifying Hackberry Psyllids Infestation
Hackberry Psyllids form woody galls on the leaves caused by abnormal growth. The galls are formed when the leaves respond to a wound these insects give, their egg-laying or feeding activity of these insects.
Hackberry Psyllids secrete chemicals when they’re laying eggs and feeding, which acts as a natural plant growing hormone, making the leaves have an abnormal growth. Since most insects are active in feeding and laying eggs
during spring and early summer, it’s when most of these galls are formed. These galls don’t really harm the plant but it makes them look ugly and causes the leaves to fall off early.
Hackberry Psyllids Management
The use of chemicals is not advised since they inhibit the galls they form on the leaves. Thus, they’re protected from being sprayed on by these chemicals, rendering the use of it useless. By the time they emerge from these galls, it would already be too late for the application of pesticides.
It would be far more effective to perform preventative measures, wherein you’ll be treating the trees when it’s spring before the newly hatched nymphs form the galls where they could be protected from the chemicals. Be mindful that several applications of these chemicals are needed, since they lay eggs continuously for several weeks.
Having a systemic approach towards the application of pesticide would make it ideal but it would need some advance planning. If the problem is inside your house, it is recommended for you to use insecticides. Putting mesh (eighteen) on your windows may lessen or even prevent these bugs from entering your home. Spray some insecticide on the mesh but be sure that the ones you use allows that kind of treatment.
Another effective way to control Hackberry Psyllids is by using a vacuum cleaner to suck the bugs up. The easiest way, especially if your house isn’t really infested with a large number, is to wait for them to die off on its own. When
these pests enter your house, they’re likely to die off even if you don’t do anything about it.
If you’re having a hard time eliminating these annoying bugs, Imidacloprid, a systemic insecticide can be used for these insects. It is a neonicotinoid that acts as an insect neurotoxin. It attacks the Central Nervous System of an insect and is considered to be less toxic to mammals. Using an aerosol insecticide that is labeled and used for “Flying insects” may be used for your indoor pest problems.
You may also use synergized pyrethrins or pyrethroids as they are considered effective. Mostly the ones that end with “-thrin” are active ingredients that are used to treat these insects indoors. Be cautious, however, in resorting to chemicals as it may be hazardous. Make sure to carefully read and understand the labels prior to using chemicals.