Insect guide > Hoppers > Tree Hoppers
Life History of the Buffalo Tree Hopper
This little insect is probably the species of the greatest economic importance of any of this group of tree hoppers. It is popularly known by the name of the "Buffalo Tree Hopper". Its popular name is derived from its supposed similarity in shape to the male bison, the prothorax being greatly enlarged towards the head and projecting at the sides into two strong horns.
It is common all through the United States, from Missouri northwards into Canada, and is sometimes the cause of considerable damage in orchards, particularly to young trees and nursery stock. The injury is produced by the cutting of the small limbs by the female with her saw-like ovipositor, in which process she makes large holes through the bark in which the eggs are inserted in clusters.
The insect flies with a loud buzzing noise from tree to tree and is very shy. The twigs chosen for egg-laying are preferably those of two or three years growth and various kinds of trees are selected. The eggs are placed in small compound groups arranged in two nearly parallel or slightly curved slits. About a minute is required for the insertion of each egg. The wound is made in such a way as to cause a certain cessation of growth between two rows of eggs to prevent their being crushed by the rapid growth of the twig.
Each female tree hopper lays from one hundred to two hundred eggs. The insect hibernates in the egg condition and the young hatch in the spring. They molt three or four times before becoming fullgrown and during their life feed upon the juices of the tender twigs and leaves by inserting their beaks and pumping up the sap. The insect in its early stages is wingless and is covered on the upper side along the centre with numerous barbed projections.