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Common Froghopper

Philaenus spumarius

Common Froghopper, Spittlebug, Meadow Froghopper, Cuckoo Spit, Froghopper Nymph, Common Meadow Spittlebug, Meadow Spittlebug

A Philaenus spumarius insect on a green leaf
Philaenus spumarius 3 by Anevrisme (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
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Philaenus spumarius is sometimes known as a Froghopper, Spittlebug, Meadow Spittlebug or Cuckoo Spit. It has a widespread distribution, and you can find them in forests, fields, parks, meadows and gardens. The young insects (nymphs) consume plant sap, and they'll secrete a foamy liquid while feeding to conceal themselves (cuckoo spit). Adult hoppers lay eggs in plant stems late in summer, which overwinters and hatches the following spring.

Traits

They can transfer disease between plants.
Froghoppers are a key food resource for predatory insects and birds.

Appearance

Adults: They range from 5mm to 7mm. Females are usually larger than males. They can be a variable yellow, brown or black colour. Some will have a mottled/ brindled appearance, whereas others will be just one colour. They have two large wings and can fly, walk as well as jumping long distances between leaves. Nymphs: The nymph looks very similar to the adults, although, are typically smaller. The wings are not yet developed, so juveniles cannot fly like the adults. They're often seen submerged in white frothy foam, which keeps them hidden while they suck the sap from herbaceous plants.

Symptoms

White foamy liquid on foliage. Pale yellow-green bugs in foamy mass. Distorted growth. Mottled leaves.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Hemiptera

Family

Aphrophoridae

Metamorphosis

Incomplete

Distribution

Europe, Asia, Africa, and America

Biological treatment

These insects bring about a few adverse effects in plants. However, they don't cause too many problems overall. Use a jet of water to dislodge these insects from plants. Homemade insecticides using water. Bio-soap and garlic can help repel insects. Attracting insects like ladybugs and green lacewing can help to control numbers of froghoppers. Allow areas of the garden to grow, or just trim, mow and prune less frequently! Hanging baskets and climbing plants can provide areas of cover for beneficial insects to hide during the day.

Attracts

These insects are drawn to herbaceous plants, found in roadside verges, forest and garden habitats.
A close up of the purple flowers of a lavender.

Lavender

Lavandula spp.

A close up of some purple Rosmarinus offcinalis flowers and green leaves

Rosemary

Salvia rosmarinus

Dahlia

Dahlia spp.

Fuchsia

Fuchsia spp.

A close up of some Artemisia stelleriana leaves

Hoary Mugwort

Artemisia stelleriana

Plume Thistle

Cirsium spp.

Repels

Spiders and solitary wasps, ladybirds, lacewing and birds will eat these insects.

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