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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Sugarcane Pyrilla

Pyrilla perpusilla

Recognize the problem

The sugarcane Pyrilla, also known as as sugarcane leafhopper, is the most destructive sucking pest of sugarcane in Pakistan. Adults are white in colour initially but turn straw colour later on. Young grubs are pale to light brown in colour. Eggs are white, oval-shaped and can easily be seen on the underside of leaves by removing the wax.

Both adult and young Pyrillas suck the cell sap from the underside of the leaves, mainly near midribs. Leaves then turn yellowish with white spots and under heavy infestation leaves turn yellowish white and dry up due to continuous sucking.  The Pyrillas also secrete sweet sticky fluid called “honey dew” on which a black film develops on the leaves. This affects the growth of the plant.


Dense cropping, high humidity, high levels of Nitrogen and irrigation, lodged canes and varieties with soft and broad leaves favour the population build-up of this dangerous pest. Heavy rainfall followed by wet and hot weather also favours the pest builds up.


  • Epiricania melanoleuca is an external parasite on sugarcane and is very effective against sugarcane leafhopper. Contact the local biological control laboratory for more details if possible
  • After the harvesting of the crop in winter, do not burn the crop remnants so that the natural enemies in the remnants are conserved. Cut the remaining leaves of the previous crop (which have large numbers of natural enemies) in lengths of 6 inches and staple them in the new crop
  • Use raised light traps in the field during night hours to attract Pyrilla
  • Remove the debris from the field from August onwards to reduce the population of the insect
  • Preferably no insecticides should be applied to save the natural enemies but in endemic conditions spray with Dimethoate @ 400ml and Chloropyriphos 1000 ml per 100 litres of water

When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Pakistan

Authors: Syed Ismat Hussain
Department of Pest Warning & Quality Control of Pesticides
tel: +92-0321-6829583 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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