Abundant rainfall usually favors sap feeders; especially noticeable now are small green to tan leafhoppers called sharpshooters. Clouds of winged adults can be stirred up as you walk through grassy areas.
Eggs of sharpshooters are laid in grasses (especially bermudagrass) and fescues. Wingless nymphs soon emerge and scuttle like tiny squirrels up and down grass blades as they feed and grow. There are probably 2 to 3 generations each summer with numbers increasing with each brood.
Grass sharpshooters are widely distributed when rainfall is plentiful. They prefer succulent plants so these insects become concentrated in irrigated turf when it is very dry. They do not produce noticeable symptoms in grass but some species of the sharpshooter group can transmit Xylella fastidiosa, which causes Pierce’s disease of grapes.
No control is recommended on turfgrass.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist