Recognize and fight boxwood fleas

Recognize and fight boxwood fleas


Greenish-yellow, rather broad and flattened larvae - often with bizarre, hair-like edges made of wax threads - suckle on the upper and lower side of the leaves, but also on buds and young shoots. Usually they are surrounded by a white wax wool. Above all, their larvae damage the plants through their sucking, which causes the leaves to turn brown at first and then to wither and deform later. Black soot fungi like to settle on the droppings. The injured sucking points also serve as entry points for pathogens, some of which are even transmitted by the leaf fleas themselves.

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Leaf fleas protect themselves with wax wool

Leaf fleas surround themselves with wax wool, which protects the animals from their natural predators: gall midges, parasitic hymenoptera that lay their eggs in the leaf flea larvae, predatory bugs, ladybugs and spiders. In addition, the wax wool also protects the pests from their own excretions, which, like honeydew, are sweet and sticky.

Adult leaf fleas overwinter in the ground

Leaf fleas are reminiscent of cicadas because of their transparent wings, which are quietly folded over their backs like a roof. However, they are not related to these; rather, both species belong to the group of plant lice. The adult leaf fleas overwinter in sheltered places in the ground or in the bark of the boxwood. In spring, the females lay tiny eggs on the leaves, shoots and buds of the host plant, preferably in calm and humid places. After hatching, which takes place around the end of March, the larvae begin damaging suckling.

Recognize leaf fleas

The boxwood flea usually sits on the underside of the leaves. You can recognize the infected leaves from the humped, lightened bulges from the top of the leaf. The liquid, sweet excrement - honeydew - drips down onto leaves and substrates and sticks them together; But it is also important food for bees, flies and ants.

Fight boxwood flea

Protecting and promoting natural enemies is the most effective preventive measure, because they ensure an ecological balance. You should remove infected shoots as soon as possible, as well as the tiny yellow egg clutches in early spring. In the event of a strong infestation, you can take action against leaf suckers with an oil-based agent, but you should carefully consider such a measure: This also kills useful insects. In winter, a white paint on the trunk (e.g. in the case of globular trunks) reduces the protected wintering areas for leaf fleas, but also affects many other small animals such as bugs, which also overwinter there. Here you have to weigh up.


In addition to the box tree leaf flea, numerous other pests cavort on the box tree, including spider mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs and the dreaded box tree moth.