California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Alerts for Organic Recycling Programs

Lerp Psyllid Infestation in California

BackgroundPhoto of a Red Gum Psyllid, lerp and eggs

The red gum lerp psyllid was discovered in 1998 in Los Angeles County. Psyllids are native to Australia, like the eucalyptus. Psyllids also produce a sticky substance called honeydew, which drops to the ground on cars and sidewalks.

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This insect pest of eucalyptus currently has spread throughout most regions of California. Plant sap is sucked out of the leaves causing damage that may result in branch dieback or death of the tree when heavily infested. These small insects protect themselves by forming a lerp, a cap-like structure secreted by the psyllid after ingesting honeydew. Biological control is being implemented throughout California for this lerp psyllid. The pest has been recorded on 27 species of eucalyptus in California, but only does damage to a few of the red gum species. 

Below are useful links for additional information from the Center for Biological Control at University of California, Berkeley:

Last updated: March 16, 2010
Organic Materials Management http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Organics/
Contacts: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Organics/Contacts.htm