Three-cornered Alfalfa Hopper, Spissistilus festinus (Say)

PLANTS ATTACKED: Legumes, especially alfalfa.

DESCRIPTION: The adult is triangular when viewed from above. The general color of the insect is a bright green. Two reddish lines run from the head area and converge dorsally along the back. These lines are more prominent on males than on female. The adult is about 1/5 inch long.

The nymphs resemble the adults in general shape but do not have the greatly enlarged pronotum which is present on the adult. The nymph is straw or buff when young but later become light green. Its body is covered with conspicuous spines.

LIFE HISTORY: Eggs are deposited in the stems of the host plant and hatch in 7 to 10 days. It requires approximately 24 days for the nymphs to reach the adult stage. There are several generations annually. The overwintering adult is active except during freezing temperatures.

DAMAGE: Typical damage caused by the insect is a complete girdling of stems of the host plant. Most of the girdling is done by the nymphs. The girdle is the result of many punctures made in a ring around the stem of the plant.