Traditionally Tasty Pest: Lerp Psyllids

Edible insects- Nature Activities for kids

Want a sweet (buggy) treat?

If you were a old school Australian aborigine, you’d chomp down on a Fuzzy white Lerp Psyllid latched on a Eucalyptus Leaf… These little bugs have jumped the ocean, and can be found just about anywhere in the US that Eucalyptus grow.

These “Jumping Plant Lice” are related to aphids. “Lerp” refers to the immature stage of the bug.

These little guys feed by inserting their sucking straw mouth into the leaf, and sucking out sugary liquids. The psyllid nymphs (babies) pass the liquid through their system, putting out a sticky substance called “honeydew” out their back ends to form a white crystalline shell.

Eucalyptus leaves can be covered with a white snow of the sweet little lerps, dozens of them on every leaf on the tree. Alhough they can provide a sweet treat for foragers, Intensive infestations can damage and even kill the host eucalyptus tree.

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