Insect of the Week: the Buffalo Treehopper

Adapted from page 402-403 of Garden Insects of North America:

Treehoppers are distinguished by a prominent enlargement of the segment behind the head (pronotum), which extends shieldlike over the head and much of the abdomen. Most species have fairly innocuous habits, and the primary plant injuries often occur during the course of depositing eggs into stems and twigs.

The Buffalo treehopper, the most widely distributed and familiar North American treehopper,  causes very little, if any, injury to plants in the course of feeding. Plant injuries are produced during egg laying, when eggs are inserted into slits made in the upper surface of twigs. Extensive egg laying can cause damaged twigs to become scabby and somewhat distorted.

An adult Buffalo treehopper (Stictocephala bisonia). Photo credit: Whitney Cranshaw.

Adults are generally triangular shaped, with the sides of the front developed into small points, somewhat resembling a miniature bison. Buffalo treehopper is grassy green and about ⅜ inch long. Nymphs are somewhat brighter green with a row of ridges along the back.

The Buffalo treehopper overwinters in the egg stage, and eggs are inserted as small groups under the bark of twigs. The eggs hatch in late spring, and the nymphs drop to the ground to feed on grasses and broadleaf weeds around the base of trees on which eggs were laid. Adults become full grown in late July or August. Females insert their eggs into twigs, typically laying about a half-dozen eggs within each oviposition wound. One generation is produced per year.

Head to our Instagram to see what the Buffalo treehopper looks like in its nymph stage.

Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
Second Edition
By Whitney Cranshaw & David Shetlar

This second edition of Garden Insects of North America solidifies its place as the most comprehensive guide to the common insects, mites, and other “bugs” found in the backyards and gardens of the United States and Canada. Featuring 3,300 full-color photos and concise, detailed text, this fully revised book covers the hundreds of species of insects and mites associated with fruits and vegetables, shade trees and shrubs, flowers and ornamental plants, and turfgrass—from aphids and bumble bees to leafhoppers and mealybugs to woollybears and yellowjacket wasps—and much more. This new edition also provides a greatly expanded treatment of common pollinators and flower visitors, the natural enemies of garden pests, and the earthworms, insects, and other arthropods that help with decomposing plant matter in the garden.

Designed to help you easily identify what you find in the garden, the book is organized by where insects are most likely to be seen—on leaves, shoots, flowers, roots, or soil. Photos are included throughout the book, next to detailed descriptions of the insects and their associated plants.

An indispensable guide to the natural microcosm in our backyards, Garden Insects of North America continues to be the definitive resource for amateur gardeners, insect lovers, and professional entomologists.

  • Revised and expanded edition covers most of the insects, mites, and other “bugs” one may find in yards or gardens in the United States and Canada—all in one handy volume
  • Features more than 3,300 full-color photos, more than twice the illustrations of the first edition
  • Concise, informative text organized to help you easily identify insects and the plant injuries that they may cause


This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< Insect of the Week: Hickory Horned DevilInsect of the Week: the Cabbage Looper >>