Spittlebugs – Getting Rid Of Insects In Your Garden
Another problem you may encounter in your garden is insects. While some insects, such as earthworms and ladybugs, can be beneficial to your garden, there are several that are not so helpful. In fact, they will eat your plants or build homes on them that will slowly suck the nutrients away. For this reason, it is important to be able to recognize harmful insects and to know how to prevent them or get them out of your garden, as well as to know which ones aren’t really causing your plants any problems at all.
Spittlebugs are commonly found in the garden, though most gardeners have never seen one. In fact, there are about 23,000 different species of these little critters – but they are very good at hiding within your plants. Their favorite plants include pine trees, junipers, legumes, strawberries, and goldenrod.
If you have seen any evidence of spittlebugs, it is the frothy formation you may have seen on your plants. Spittlebug nymphs secrete a special liquid, which they then turn into bubbles by pumping or moving their bodies. After forming these bubbles, they cover themselves with their hind legs and the froth. This froth helps protect the spittlebug from its predators. It also insulates the spittlebug from extreme temperatures and prevents them from becoming dehydrated.
Spittlebugs lay their eggs in later summer, and these eggs remain on the plant debris over the winter. In early spring, the eggs hatch and go through five stages of development before becoming adults. When they hatch in the early spring, the nymphs attach themselves to the plant they were hatches on and begin to feed. At this point, the spittlebug nymphs are green and wingless, though they are practically invisible while within the spittle.
Adult spittlebugs are brown or black and are about 1/8 to ¼ inch long. They do form wings as adults and look similar to their relative, the leafhopper, but with a broader body. Their faces look similar to the face of a frog, which has earned them the nickname of froghopper.
The damage inflicted on your plants from spittlebugs is minimal, despite the fact that they feed on the sap of the plant. In addition, their populations are generally very small. Therefore, it is not necessary to use pesticides to rid your plants of spittlebugs. In addition, a strong water blast from your hose is often all it takes to remove the spittlebug nymph from a plant. If you do not do anything to remove the spittlebugs, they will be gone from your plants within a few weeks on their own.
A severe infestation of spittlebugs can weaken plants, stunt their growth, and reduce their yield. If you are concerned that your infestation is serious, you should remove all plant debris in the fall and till your soil in order to decrease the egg population.