Common froghopper

Philaenus spumarius

Common froghopper, Common meadow spittlebug, Cuckoo spit, Froghopper Nymph, Meadow froghopper, Meadow spittlebug , Spittlebug

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A Philaenus spumarius insect on a green leaf
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Philaenus spumarius is also known commonly by the names Froghopper Nymph, Spittlebug, Meadow Spittlebug and Cuckoo Spit. It is a small insect, usually found in most open areas including forests, fields, parks, meadows and gardens. Philaenus spumarius is one of the most common and currently there are 10 species of spittlebug found in the UK. The immature stage is known as a sap-sucking nymph, at this point they consume the sap of plants, secreting a foamy liquid in the process to protect themselves whilst feeding. Adults may be found on plants from mid-late summer and they do not cause noticeable damage to plant hosts. Adults lay eggs in plant stems late in summer, which overwinter and hatch the following spring. Important monitoring attempts surrounding this species are underway in order to pre-emptively combat the spread of dangerous plant disease. It is caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which spittlebugs can transmit from plant to plant whilst feeding. It not yet been found in the UK, however people across the country are being asked to report signings of spittlebugs to help map the distribution of this species. Report your sightings here:
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Their method of feeding makes them suitable vectors for transferring disease between plants.
Froghoppers are a key food resource for predatory insects.


Ranging from about 5mm - 7mm with the females usually being slightly larger. They can be a variable yellow, brown or black colour. Some will have a mottled/ brindled appearance whereas others will be one set colour. They have two large wings and can fly and walk as well as jump long distances. Tip: Distinguish froghoppers (Superfamily: Cercopoidea) from leafhoppers (Family: Cicadellidae) using the hind legs. A leafhopper will have 1 to 3 rows of fine, thin, spines, whereas; a froghopper possesses 2 wide and thick spines on the outer edge of the hindleg.


White foamy liquid on plant stems and leaves from late spring-summer.











Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

Biological treatment

These insects have little negative effect on plants unless positioned at a growing tip, in which case they may distort plant growth somewhat. They can easily be wiped off or washed off using water.

Chemical treatment

Not necessary.

Attracts this pest

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Knowledge and advice

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