Back to top

Graphocephala coccinea

Red-banded leafhopper adult. Photo: David Cappaert, Bugwood.
Scientific Name: 
Graphocephala coccinea
Common Name: 
Redbanded Leafhopper (Sharpshooter)
Growing Degree Days (GDD's): 
1000–2800 GDD's, Base 50F, March 1st Start Date (Source: Robert Childs, UMass Extension.)
Host Plant(s) Common Name (Scientific Name): 
Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
Catawba rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense)
Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)
Laurel (Laurus spp.)
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Privet (Ligustrum spp.)
Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)
Rose (Rosa spp.)
Rosebay rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
Insect Description: 

The redbanded leafhopper or sharpshooter may also be commonly referred to as the rhododendron leafhopper, as it is likely to be found associated with rhododendron. However, there is a similar species in the same genus (G. fennahi) that feeds exclusively on rhododendron. Candy-striped leafhopper is another common name for G. coccinea. In addition to the host plants listed above, at least 50 other plant species have been reported as hosts for this insect in the literature. The redbanded leafhopper is a brilliantly colored insect, found active throughout much of the growing season. Adults possess bright red and blue (or green) markings on the wings and thorax. The head, underside of the abdomen, and the legs are bright yellow in color. Adults may be 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch in length. Eggs are laid by the females in the mesophyll of their host plants. Eggs are oval in shape and flattened, and may be visible with magnification through the swollen plant tissues into which they have been inserted. Nymphs feed on the underside of host plant leaves. In these areas, their shed or cast skins (exoskeletons) may adhere and be detected as clues to the presence of this insect on host plants. Fully grown nymphs (immatures) are 8 mm. long, creamy white in color, and capable of jumping impressively. Two generations of this species are known per year, with redbanded leafhoppers found in Pennsylvania in late April and again in mid-July. The timing of the life cycle may be different in more northern parts of this insect's range. Adults are present from mid-June through October or until the first killing frost. 

Damage to Host: 

Injury from the redbanded leafhopper occurs through both feeding and egg laying. The foliage of rhododendron, azalea, mountain laurel, rose, privet, and other hosts may be impacted. Egg laying causes oval swellings on leaf undersides, and following egg hatch a 4 mm scar or hole may be left behind in these areas. Feeding injury by the first generation nymphs causes distortion of newer foliage, primarily on rhododendrons that continue to produce foliage in mid-season. Injury is caused on immature foliage and elongating shoots, but may be seen throughout much of the growing season. On certain host plants, such as grape, oak, elm, sycamore, and other ornamental species, the redbanded leafhopper may be capable of transmitting Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium that may cause Pierce's Disease, a type of leaf scorch disease. The injury may be primarily aesthetic in nature. 


Monitor for this insect from July through the first killing frost in Massachusetts. May be difficult to spot, as they are quick to move or jump away. Injury from the insect feeding or egg laying may be noticed before the insects themselves.

Cultural Management: 

Due to the size of this insect, and the speed and ease with which it can avoid being captured, cultural or mechanical management options may be limited. As always, maintain and improve host plant vigor to help reduce the overall impact of insect feeding. In smaller plantings or on nursery plants, small-sized netting may be useful in excluding certain pest insects during their active periods in the growing season.

Natural Enemies & Biological Control: 

Predators and parasites, both insect, and in the case of predators, vertebrate, may be known for the redbanded leafhopper, however the specifics about which species are involved or their relative impacts to the redbanded leafhopper's population are difficult to locate.

Chemical Management: 

Acephate (NL)

Acetamiprid (L)

Azadirachtin (NL)

Beauveria bassiana (NL)

Bifenthrin (NL)

Bifenthrin+imidacloprid (L)

Buprofezin (NL)

Carbaryl (L)

Chromobacterium subtsugae (NL)

Chlorpyrifos (N)

Clothianidin (NL)

Deltamethrin (L)

Dinotefuran (NL)

Fenpropathrin (NL)

Tau-fluvalinate (NL)

Gamma-cyhalothrin (L)

Imidacloprid (L)

Insecticidal soap (NL)

Isaria (paecilomyces) fumosoroseus (NL)

Lambda-cyhalothrin (L)

Malathion (L)

Neem oil (NL)

Permethrin (L)

Pyrethrins+piperonyl butoxide (L)

Pyrethrin+sulfur (NL)


Active ingredients that may be applied systemically include: Acephate (injection), acetamiprid (injection), azadirachtin (injection, soil drench), clothianidin (soil drench), dinotefuran (soil drench), imidacloprid (soil drench), and neem oil (soil drench).

Make insecticide applications after bloom to protect pollinators. Applications at times of the day and temperatures when pollinators are less likely to be active can also reduce the risk of impacting their populations.

Note: Beginning July 1, 2022, neonicotinoid insecticides are classified as state restricted use for use on tree and shrub insect pests in Massachusetts. For more information, visit the MA Department of Agricultural Resources Pesticide Program.

Read and follow all label instructions for safety and proper use. If this guide contradicts language on the label, follow the most up-to-date instructions on the product label. Always confirm that the site you wish to treat and the pest you wish to manage are on the label before using any pesticide. Read the full disclaimer. Active ingredients labeled "L" indicate some products containing the active ingredient are labeled for landscape uses on trees or shrubs. Active ingredients labeled "N" indicate some products containing the active ingredient are labeled for use in nurseries. Always confirm allowable uses on product labels. This active ingredient list is based on what was registered for use in Massachusetts at the time of publication. This information changes rapidly and may not be up to date. If you are viewing this information from another state, check with your local Extension Service and State Pesticide Program for local uses and regulations. Active ingredient lists were last updated: January 2024. To check current product registrations in Massachusetts, please visit: .