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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

corn planthopper (Peregrinus maidis)

Host plants / species affected
Oryza sativa (rice)
Poaceae (grasses)
Rottboellia cochinchinensis (itch grass)
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)
Tripsacum dactyloides (eastern gamagrass (USA))
Zea mays (maize)
List of symptoms/signs
Leaves  -  honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves  -  necrotic areas
Roots  -  cortex with lesions
Roots  -  external feeding
Stems  -  discoloration of bark
Stems  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  discoloration
Whole plant  -  dwarfing
On corn, aggregations of several broods of nymphs inside the whorl, leaf sheath or underside of leaves are often observed. Large quantities of honeydew or plant secretions are often on or near the sites of aggregation. As a result, stunting of the plant and sooty mould are evident. On sorghum the symptoms are very similar to those of corn and with high populations, the death of leaves and failure of ear emergence can occur. On itchgrass and gama grass the symptoms are similar to those of corn, but not as evident.
Prevention and control


Control in winter nurseries, seed multiplication fields and high-value sweet corn has depended largely on chemical pesticides. Due to a lack of thorough ecological understanding of the insect on a large-area basis, no effective IPM program has yet been formulated.

Most chemical controls on corn and sorghum are aimed at lepidopterous insects and aphids. There is no specific programme for P. maidis control. In laboratory tests with seven insecticides it was found that carbaryl, a contact insecticide, had the longest residual effect on P. maidis with mortality continuing up to 10 days after treatment. Malathion, carbaryl, dimethoate and diazinon all killed significantly more P. maidis than Dalbulus maidis at one or more post-treatment dates (Tsai et al., 1990).


P. maidis has been reported causing serious damage to new sorghum varieties. The feeding caused death of top leaves and failure of emergence of the ear in sorghum (Agriwal et al., 1981). More importantly, P. maidis transmits two maize viruses, maize mosaic virus (MMV) and maize stripe virus (MSpV), that can become a limiting factor in maize production in the tropics.

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