Leafhoppers And The Box Fan Trick.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Candy Striped Leafhopper 61520a” and is available for purchase by the instructions at the bottom of the article.

One of the tiniest creatures in the mountains is also one of our most colorful. The Candy Striped Leafhopper. I always thought that they reminded me of a Neon Tetra sold at pet stores. But this colorful little critter with it’s sweet sounding name is responsible for major damage done to certain timber crops as well as crops like brambles and roses. The insect lands on a leaf and like a vampire sucks the life from the leaf. What’s left behind is a dead, dry curled up leaf that almost looks mummified.

A single Leafhopper by itself does relatively little damage but they can arrive in dense swarms. In late Spring and early Summer we often see clouds insects flying in corkscrew patterns around outdoor lights. Closer inspection will show that a large portion of the swarm to be Green Leafhoppers which have the same feeding patterns as the Candy Striped Leafhopper.

So what do you do about them? Well, I’m in favor of as much natural controls as I can make work. One trick that seemed to have a marginal amount of success in reducing a large number of nocturnal insects was that fan trap. A fan trap is simple to make. You simply take a cheap box fan and attach a thin cloth to the side that blows out. Then a bright light is hung directly in front of fan intake. The insects are drawn to the light and pulled into the fan which pins them to the cloth. The airflow dries them out and they die.

I found that the local songbirds absolutely love the free meal if you empty the cloth in a place where they can find it.

As seen in the video the fan trap can be used in the daytime too. The main things to remember is that you want to protect the fan from the weather. Most box fans are not rated for outdoor use and not only could unexpected rain ruin your fan but there’s also a risk of an electrical fire or shock if the connections get wet. It’s also likely to catch beneficial insects like lacewings in the trap so try to keep an eye on what types of bugs are caught in it.

Of course there’s the insecticidal soaps and systemic chemicals. I try to avoid those because they often kill honeybees and other pollenators. Running the fan traps at night really reduces the risk to honeybees since they’re not normally out at night. And setting up a timer makes it easier to shut the fan trap down before sunrise.

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