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How to Get Rid of Spittle Bugs


About spittlebugs

Spittlebugs are insects categorized as nymphs. Spittlebugs have approximately 850 species. These bugs feed on plants and are mostly found in green areas like, gardens, pastures, meadows, lawn and any other green landscape. It comes in variety of colors and produces a certain kind of froth to cover itself, which protects them from parasites and other insects that prey on the spittle bugs. The froth also protects them from drying out.   The froth resembles the same stuff that comes out of my dogs mouth when he tries to enjoy a little toad.

Damage caused by spittlebugs

The spittlebugs eat variety of plants, herbs, fruits and flowers like; roses, chrysanthemums and even chewing off the leaves and sap, stems and strawberries. It stunts the growth of the plants as well. Thus wreaking havoc to the plant kingdom.


  1. Safeguarding the landscape from the nymphs

Remove all weeds, leaf debris, foliage and other such moist and damp material from the garden. Mow the grass and trim them short. Weeds serve as hosts for insects like spittle bugs. Use row covers to safeguard and protect the plants, fruits and vegetables that are prone to be attacked by spittlebugs.

  1. De-thatching the garden

Thatch the garden and remove all spongy leaf debris and grass covered with soil. Use a vertical thatch mower.  Eradicate plants and flowers that the spittlebugs are particularly fond of.  Shortage of food supply will minimize the population of the spittle beetles. In addition the bugs will not have any suitable area to lay its eggs. Make sure the soil has good drainage; the soil will absorb and accumulate the water. This leads to development of thatch, which will cause infestation of the spittle bugs. Rake all the leaves from the garden.

  1. Remove the froth and pluck the bug out

It is quite difficult to spot a spittlebug as it surrounds itself in foam. On examining closely you can find the bugs and remove them manually using your hands. In addition use a hose pipe and blast the spittle bugs with water pressure. It will help in dislodging the spittlebugs from the leaves. Removing the foam on a regular basis makes it difficult for the bugs to stick around the garden. Pick out the larvae and crush it and wash your hands after the process is completed.

  1. Using chemicals for the spittle bugs

Use chemical pesticides to eliminate the spittle bugs and nymphs from the garden. The chemical pesticides that can be used are as follows:

LAMBDA CHOLOTHRIN: this is mostly used in agricultural areas. It is a concentrated solution. It must be used after reading the label and directions.

BIFENTHRIN: it has a long lasting effect which produce more efficient results in eradicating the nymphs. This concentrated solution mainly attacks the nervous system of the spittle bugs. This pesticide is fast and odor less.

CARBARYL:  this chemical comes in the form of spray and dust. Apply it on fruits and plants before harvest. It keeps the nymphs and spittle bugs away from the plantation. Application must be repeated on a weekly basis.

CYFLUTHRIN: it is mostly used in the form of spray. It is a slow releasing chemical, that makes the effects last longer.

INSECTICIDAL SOAP & HORTICULTURAL OIL: these are less harmful to the plants and are contact insecticides. The insecticidal soap and oil must be sprayed directly on the spittlebugs to eliminate the nymphs. Read directions before application of the chemical. The insecticidal soap consists of fatty acids and amino salts that break down the shell and dehydrate the bug by drying up its bodily fluids. Mix 5 tablespoons of insecticidal soap and one gallon of water. Use goggles while spraying the insecticidal soap.

PYRETHROID: spray this insecticide during spring and early summer, other than spray use the garden hose to cover the plants with pyrethroid. It helps in eradicating the larva of the spittle bugs.

The other recommended products are Deltamethrin, Permethrin andImidacloprid + beta-cyfluthrin

Avoid using pesticides when the plants have been watered and when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Ignore the spittle bugs

At times the seasonal insects and pests that visit the garden feed on the spittle bugs and nymphs. Insects like wasps and other predators help in getting rid of the bugs without having to do any work.

  1. Taking care of host plants

There are particular favorite plants, flowers, herbs and fruits that spittle bugs love to use as a host. For example strawberries, lavender, rosemary and pine trees etc.  Use row covers to protect them from the bugs and avoid planting them.

Spit it out

The spittlebugs or nymphs don’t cause major damage but can be a menace to your garden. Use all preventive measures. Take care of cleaning your garden and maintain the landscape. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. On need basis you should not be afraid to use the chemical insecticides.


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