Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Mystery bugs

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Question
mystery bug
mystery bug  

underside of mystery bug
underside of mystery b  
So I'm living in Sacramento county and the past few nights we've had these bugs swarming the area at night (first couple days of June).
They are attracted to light, have gotten through a couple of the screens and they congregate anywhere there is a bright light.
They jump and they fly.
They are between 1/8"-1/4", a little larger than gnats, brown, harder body, have wings.
During the day, they hide out in the garden and will jump out of the plants when disturbed or watered.

Any idea what they are, how to control them, and will they cause any harm to indoors, to food stuffs, animals or garden?

Thank you!

Answer
Hi, Anthony:

Thanks for including the images with your question.  I could not reach a conclusion from your description alone.

The insects are "leafhoppers" in the family Cicadellidae.  They are true bugs with piercing-sucking mouthparts that feed on plant sap.

This family of insects is so large, with so many different yet similar species, that I cannot be more specific.

Most are not pests in gardens, but can be damaging to agricultural crops.  Several species are known to transmit plant pathogens, especially viruses.

So, mostly they are a nuisance.  You might contact a local entomologist at a university (UC Davis, for example), state department of agriculture office, or natural history museum to get more information on your local species.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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