Climate change can benefit individual species, but when pest species are enhanced by warmer temperatures agricultural productivity may be placed at greater risk. We analyzed the effects of temperature anomaly on arrival date and infestation severity of potato leafhopper, Empoasca fabae Harris, a classic new world long distance migrant, and a significant pest in several agricultural crops. We compiled E. fabae arrival dates and infestation severity data at different states in USA from existing literature reviews and agricultural extension records from 1951–2012, and examined the influence of temperature anomalies at each target state or overwintering range on the date of arrival and severity of infestation. Average E. fabae arrival date at different states reveal a clear trend along the south-north axis, with earliest arrival closest to the overwintering range. E. fabae arrival has advanced by 10 days over the last 62 years. E. fabae arrived earlier in warmer years in relation to each target state level temperature anomaly (3.0 days / °C increase in temperature anomaly). Increased temperature had a significant and positive effect on the severity of infestation, and arrival date had a marginal negative effect on severity. These relationships suggest that continued warming could advance the time of E. fabae colonization and increase their impact on affected crops.