Meadow Spittle Bug

Identification and Control

Meadow Spittle Bug

The meadow spittlebug is an annoying pest that can stunt plants and reduce fruit size.

Spittlebugs can be recognized by the white masses of wet foam or spittle on leaves, petioles, and stems. The tiny green nymphs produce the spittle covering to protect themselves from predators and desiccation.

Adults are bright green and darken to a dull brown, they resemble leaf-hoppers, are related to aphids, but are actually classified as “frog-hoppers”. Nymphs feed for five to eight weeks before entering the adult stage. Adults are seen on foliage from late May until frost, but usually go unnoticed because they produce no spittle. Adults lay their eggs in the stems and leaves of plants from July through October. There is only one generation per year.

Initially the nymphs feed at the base of the plants, but later move up to the tender foliage. Feeding may cause leaves to become wrinkled and dark-green. While fruit may be stunted, significant yield loss seldom occurs. High spittlebug populations are often associated with poor weeding practices.

Spittlebugs are somewhat tolerable in the garden, they do not cause any substantial damage. Handpicking is feasible, if you don’t mind the slimy spittle, you can also wash off with water.