If you have ever noticed a foam or spit like substance on your garden plants, chances are a spit bug, also known as a spittle nymph, is the culprit. These small bugs form a foamy substance, that looks like spit, in the area of the plant that they are feeding. Most times you will see this where the stem meets a branch. The spittle nymph uses the foam to cover itself from prey while it is feeding and keeps it moist and warm.
Spit bugs usually are not much of a problem, and usually, you won’t have to deal with an infestation. However, they do feed on plant sap and can cause your flowers and plants harm. The flowers and plants that the spit bugs feed on will become weak and start to wither. Spit bugs can also feed on grass and cause it to turn brown and die. This can become an eyesore in your beautiful garden or yard. Not to mention the unsightly spit blobs all over your plants and flowers. Here a few simple ways to help eliminate unwanted spit bugs from your garden:
Keep It Clean
Spit bugs lay their eggs during the winter months, and the eggs hatch in the spring. Making sure that you do a thorough cleaning of your yard or garden before spring helps reduce the number of spit bugs that hatch. Be sure to till any legume foliage as the female spit bugs find these areas a perfect laying ground.
You might like a little spice, but spit bugs do not! All you need to do is fill a spray bottle with water, chopped hot peppers, and garlic. Use caution when making this concoction as the peppers can cause irritation to your eyes and skin. Simply spray any areas that you see the frothy foam and the spit bug will go elsewhere. This is also a natural approach that is safe for your plants and flowers, as well as pets.
Hose it down
Most times you can simply hose down spit bugs. A semi-strong stream of water, from a garden hose, or watering-can will knock off any feeding spit bugs and they likely won’t return to the same place. If you don’t have to water your plants frequently, you may still want to go out and hose down any spit bugs that you see. You can also use gloves and physically remove any bunches of spit bugs that are feeding on your plants and flowers.
If you want to terminate spit bugs for good, then you should try an insecticide spray. You can buy an insecticide spray at your local hardware store or other retailers. Most times the affected areas need at least two treatments to get rid of your spit bug problem effectively. Once you have treated the area, you should not have any more spit bug related problems, and it will help keep other pesky insects away from your garden. This is not a natural approach, but most plants won’t be harmed by the insecticide spray. Just be sure not to use an insecticide spray on any of your edible plants like fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
Using plant-based essential oils is an organic approach and leaves you spit-bug free! Neem oil is the most popular oil used, but you can also try other citrus based oils like orange and lemon. You just simply spray the plants or flowers with the essential oil of your choice. This will upset a spit bugs natural feeding process and will deter spit bugs from wanting to feed on your plants and flowers.
Spit bugs are virtually harmless and can not bite or sting humans. They are harmful to your plants and flowers, and it is for this reason alone that most people try to get rid of spit bugs. Most people may even be able to get past the unsightly spit bubbles that they produce, but when it comes to the health of your plants, you should say farewell to spit bugs once and for all. You can try many different natural or chemical methods, those listed are just a few that are effective and not very time consuming.