Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by plants are generally involved in host recognition and host selection for many phytophagous insects. However, for leafhoppers and planthoppers, host recognition is mainly thought to involve a phototactic response, but it is not clear if a host plant could be selected based on the volatile cues it emits. In this study we evaluated olfactory responses in dual choice tests of two Hemiptera species, Dalbulus maidis (De Long) (Cicadellidae) and Peregrinus maidis (Ashmead) (Delphacidae), vectors of maize-stunting diseases, to three maize (Zea mays L.) germplasms, a temperate and a tropical hybrid and a landrace. VOCs emitted by the germplasms were collected and identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The temperate hybrid released significantly more VOCs than the tropical hybrid and the landrace, and its volatile profile was dominated by (±)-linalool. D. maidis preferred odours emitted from the temperate hybrid, whereas P. maidis preferred odours from the tropical hybrid and the landrace over the temperate one. In order to test if linalool plays a role in the behavioural responses, we assayed this compound in combination with the tropical hybrid, to provide other contextual olfactory cues. D. maidis was attracted to the tropical hybrid plus a 0.0001% linalool solution, indicating that this compound could be part of a blend of attractants. Whereas addition of linalool resulted in a slight, though not significant, reduction in host VOC attractiveness for P. maidis. Both hopper species responded to olfactory cues in the absence of supplementary visual cues.