Tomato Psyllids

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 Tomato psyllids (Paratrioza cockerelli), also called "jumping plant lice," are not thought to overwinter in Alberta, but migrate in from the south. Psyllids, pronounced "sillids - as in silly", have been an occasional pest in Alberta greenhouse crops over the past few years. Tomato psyllids range from British Columbia to Saskatchewan and south all the way to Mexico.

Psyllids are 2-5 mm in length, and can be confused with aphids except that they have relatively long antennae. Another very distinguishing feature is the they are strong jumpers, and if you thought you were looking at an aphid, you would have believed that it was on steroids. However, as with aphids, psyllids feed by sucking the juices from the plant. The nymphs are found primarily on the undersides of the leaves. They are fairly easy to spot, much like whitefly nymphs, except that psyllid nymphs are larger and have a very different look to them, or morphology.

As the nymphs feed on the leaves, they inject toxic saliva into the leaves which cause "psyllid yellows", where the leaves curl and turn yellow, and eventually brown.

There are no specific registered controls, but collateral control can be obtained through a whitefly control program.

J. Calpas, CDCS
Greenhouse Coverings - August 1999

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Simone Dalpe.
This information published to the web on July 3, 2002.
Last Reviewed/Revised on June 30, 2016.