Common froghopper

Philaenus spumarius

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

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A close up of an 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: https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/xylem-feeding-insects.
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Traits

Their method of feeding makes them suitable vectors for transferring disease between plants.
Froghoppers are a key food resource for predatory insects.

Appearance

Ranging from about 5mm - 7mm with the females usually being slightly larger, the froghoppers can usually be detected by their yellow, brown or black colour. The darker areas of their bodies are covered in white, yellow spots while the lighter areas are covered in darker spots. They have two large wings and can fly and walk as well as jump long distances.

Symptoms

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

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aphrophoridae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

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.
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Knowledge and advice

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