Buffalo treehoppers are one of the many insects native to America that are considered pests to crops and various forms of vegetation. The buffalo treehopper is officially referred to as Stictocephala bisonia, and it gets its name from the buffalo-like hump that protrudes from its back. These insects are closely related to cicadas, and they sing just as often as cicadas, but humans are not able to hear them. These pests are only a quarter of an inch in length, and they are very hard to spot with the naked eye. Buffalo treehoppers are considered pests to many types of fruit trees.

Each summer treehoppers will embark up to the highest branches of trees in order to sing like cicadas and crickets. Humans cannot hear treehopper songs, but if we could they would sound very similar to their cicada relatives. However, the treehopper does not sing for our entertainment; instead male treehoppers are hoping to attract females with their annual songs. During late summer and early fall female treehoppers will plant their eggs within twigs and stems by cutting an opening into stems with their sharp ovipositors. Each incision can contain up to a dozen treehopper eggs. During the following spring nymphs will emerge from these twigs and stems. The nymphs eventually reach adulthood after several molts. Treehoppers begin their destructive behaviors after the nymphs fall to the ground from the tree branches where they emerged. Once the treehopper nymphs fall to the ground they begin to feed on grasses and herbaceous plants. As the treehoppers mature into adulthood they begin to feed on a variety of fruit trees. Treehoppers especially prefer to feed on apple, pear, cherry, prune, and quince trees. Every stage in a treehopper’s development has them using their sap-sucking mouthparts to feed on trees. Controlling buffalo treehopper populations is difficult since they hop constantly and are able to fly. Treehopper infestations can only be eradicated by professionals with the proper insecticides.


Have you ever spotted a treehopper during the summer months?


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