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.
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 or Damage of Spittlebugs
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.
How to Control Spittlebugs
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 and protect your plants:
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Use2 is ideal for targeted spittlebug spot treatments. Just shake the container well and it's ready to go. Adjust the nozzle to spray narrowly or widely and kill spittlebugs on contact. Treat ornamental plants and listed vegetables.
- Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate and Ready to Spray offer easy-to-use alternatives to treat and protect larger plants, lawns and garden areas. These products kill spittlebugs by contact and keep protecting against these foamy pests for up to three months.
- Sevin Insect Killer Dust Ready to Use starts killing spittlebugs on strawberry crops immediately upon contact. Use the convenient shaker container to apply a thin, uniform layer at the first sign of strawberry damage.
Spittlebug Control 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 thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequency and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.
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