Q:

How do you get rid of spittle bugs?

A:

The best way to get rid of spittle bugs is to knock them off plants or bushes using a stream of water from a garden hose. Spittle bugs are rarely a serious problem for a home garden but can hurt crop plants and ornamentals, including strawberries, juniper and pines. Even with infestation, less toxic pesticides, such as insecticidal soap or horticultural oils, are extremely effective in eliminating spittle bugs.

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Spittle bugs are named for the unsightly bubbles they excrete from their back ends. The bubbly foam serves as a protective cover, according to Gardening Know How. Yellow green or green nymph spittle bugs move along inside the bubbles, feeding on plant juices. Even so, these bugs do little damage to the host plant unless they appear in large numbers. The adults are tan, mottled brown or black, and they are about a quarter to half an inch long with frog-like faces. They are also called froghoppers. The adults jump when disturbed.

Spittle bugs prefer pine trees or junipers but settle on other plants, including rose bushes. Because spittle bugs lay their eggs on old plant debris in the fall, which overwinter in place and hatch in the spring, removal of debris from the garden in the fall protects the garden from spittle bugs the next growing season.

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