Identification

There are adults with either long or short wings (see below, left). There are dark and light types regarding body color. Three brown longitudinal convex ridges can usually be observed on the back of adults. Dark types have body color of brown or dark brown; light color types have tawny body color. Nymphs are brown and oval shaped.

Damage

Both adults and nymphs can damage rice plants. They attach to the base parts of rice plants to pierce tillers and suck plant saps, removing nutrients and water from plants. Strongly infested plants are yellow in color and shorter than normal plants. At high densities, BPH can cause the whole field to dry and get burned, resulting in serious crop failure (see below, right).

Control options

Cultural control: Avoid densely seeded/transplanted crops, excessive use of nitrogen and early season insecticide spraying. Aim for synchronous planting rice plants of the same growth duration, as this can avoid BPH from spreading. Alternate dry and shallow water in the field, when possible; adjust fertilization to keep a balanced development of rice plants.

Biocontrol : many natural enemies like to feed on planthoppers such as spiders, frogs, lady beetles, staphylinids etc. The best way to keep planthoppers under control is to protect/preserve these natural enemies by avoiding application of broadspectrum insecticides .Enhancing plant diversity and flower rich plants near rice fields also supports the natural enemies.

Chemical control: consider pesticide application if >20 planthopppers/hill observed and few natural enemies are present in rice fields, not before 30 days after transplanting.

*the information provided on this page should also be considered for other plant hopper species such as the white-back plant hopper (WBPH).