image of gardening tips header
    Past Articles Library  |  2 Minute Video Tips  |  Gardening Idea Blog  |  About Us




Past Articles Library | Organic Pest Control | Spittlebug



 

SPITTLEBUG
(Philaenus spumarius)

Spittlebugs produce masses of frothy "spittle" on stems and feed inside the white foam. The rapid-moving adult is known as a froghopper. Spittlebug nymphs suck plant juices like aphids, but they remove so much water and carbohydrates that excess fluid is produced. They cover themselves with this fluid and then produce the spittle by bubbling air from the tip of the abdomen into the liquid. The spittle mass helps protect the nymphs from drying and predators.

 
 

DESCRIPTION

Adults are oval, frog-faced, and 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 to 10 mm) long. They are tan, mottled brown, or black and are similar to leafhoppers in appearance but stouter, with sharp spines on the hind legs. Adults are very active and jump when disturbed. Nymphs are yellow to yellow-green in color, look similar to adults but are wingless, and can be found inside the foamy mass of "spittle." Eggs are white to beige in color.

 
 

LIFE CYCLE

Overwintering eggs hatch in mid-April, and nymphs develop for 6-7 weeks in masses of spittle on plant stems. Adults feed all summer and start to lay overwintering eggs in rows on stems or stubble by early fall, around September.

 

 

PLANTS MOST AFFECTED

Strawberry, legume forage crops such as clover and alfalfa, many ornamental and nursery plants including junipers and pine trees.

 

 

DAMAGE

Spittlebug are rarely a serious problem in home gardens simply causing an unsightly mess. In crop plants however, adults and nymphs suck plant juices, causing stunted, dwarfed, and weakened plants with reduced yields. Adults migrate in large numbers from hay fields to nearby crops when hay is cut; this is when home gardens can be suddenly infested.

 
 

MEANS OF CONTROL

Prevention:

Cover garden plants with floating row covers when nearby hay fields are cut.

Control:

  • If you had high numbers of nymphs in th summer, then till under stubble of forage legumes in the fall to kill overwintering eggs

  • For home gardeners, simply spraying off the plants with a strong stream of water will do the trick.



 







Latest Articles on our Blog


Guide to Growing Cucamelons

Organic Control of Crickets and Woodlice in Irises

Tips for Growing Swiss Chard

Product Review: iPhone Plant Light Meter


Email page | Print page |

Feature Article - How To Tutorials - Question & Answer

Quick Gardening Tip - Plant Gallery - Gardening Design Ideas

Disease & Pest Control - Monthly To Do Lists

Gardening Resources - Garden Clubs & Events - Climate Zones Maps

Gardening Tips & Ideas Blog

Contact us  |  Site map  |  Privacy policy



© 1993 - 2013 WM Media



Gardening-tip:



Purple Knight Alternanthera

This ground cover likes partial sun to full sun.

It grows 16 to 20 inches (40-50 cm) tall, and 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm) wide. It is very heat tolerant.

Its beautiful purple leaves make an excellent accent plant in the garden.


Join Our Mailing List


Weekend Gardener Search