You may have noticed what looks like spit on the stems of grasses, herbs and new growth on shrubs in the last few weeks. This frothy white substance is the work of the aptly named Spittlebug.

The froth forms a protective environment for nymphs of several species of sap-sucking insects including Common spittlebugs, Black spittlebugs and Froghoppers.

These are insects of the family Aphrophoridae. Not all species in this family create the spittle, which is also known as cuckoo-spit.

Both nymph and adult Spittlebugs are sap suckers, but are not usually present in great numbers and therefore don’t do much damage to plants.

Spittlebug ‘cuckoo-spit’ complete with adult Froghopper (Bathyllus albicinctus)

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