common name: Psyllid, Jumping Plant Lice
scientific name: Order Hymenoptera, family Psyllidae, many species
size: Adult--1/32" to 3/16"
identification: The large, easily visible ones have black bodies with clear wings, which they hold over their bodies like a gabled roof. Nymphs are flat and oval and don't look like the adults.
biology and life cycle: Egg, nymph, and winged adult. Most are free-living, although some species make the galls on hackberry leaves.
habitat: Trees and garden plants.
feeding habits: Sucking, causing curled, deformed stems and leaves.
economic importance: Damaging to new leaves. Some species carry a disease known as "psyllid yellows." There is a small psyllid that causes the stems of potato plants to swell up and turn purplish, which really hurts production of farm crops.
natural control: The egg-eating and predator insects such as lady beetles and green lacewings. Birds and other insectivorous animals.
organic control: Garlic or plant oil sprays, biodiversity, and healthy plants.
insight: The potato psyllid is so small that it isn't detected until the damage is done. Prevention through an organic program is the best control.