Spittlebugs are the immature stage of several insect species known as froghoppers. Though many types of spittlebugs affect gardens, these froghopper nymphs all have one thing in common: the spittle-like foam that conceals and protects them as they feed on plants. Spittlebugs typically target tender new growth and flowers, covering attractive plants with unsightly foam. Roses, strawberries and herbs are favorite spittlebug targets.
Identification: Adult froghoppers grow about 1/4 inch long and have large hind legs. Often mistaken for leafhoppers, they vary in color depending on the species, but common froghoppers are often mottled gray and brown. Their red-eyed spittlebug nymphs range in color from orange or yellow to green.
Signs/Damage: Spittlebugs leave no doubt they're feeding on plants. Their telltale foam forms as soon as they begin to feed. Spittlebugs damage plants by piercing plant tissue and sucking out juices. The damage stunts plant growth, distorts leaves, and interferes with fruit production.
Control: Effective spittlebug control focuses on reaching these pests before they're covered in protective foam. Start treatment in spring to reach nymphs as they hatch and begin to feed. GardenTech® brand offers several options to kill spittlebugs by contact and keep protecting for up to three months:
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use is ideal for targeted spittlebug spot treatments. Adjust the nozzle to “stream" for direct, precise application or choose “spray" for broader coverage.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate offers an easy, economical alternative to treat and protect larger plants or larger garden areas. Take advantage of the easy-to-use measuring cap, and use with a pump-style sprayer. Cover all plant surfaces thoroughly.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray provides simple, thorough coverage for larger plants and areas. Attach the container to a common garden hose, and it measures and mixes automatically as you spray.
Tip: Spittlebugs do minimal damage unless their numbers build. Wash away spittle and shake the pests loose with a strong blast from a water hose. Spittlebugs overwinter as eggs in plant debris, so clean your garden well at season's end.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.