YY Gardening

Frog Hoppers and Cuckoo Spit

Have you ever wondered what creates the white frothy stuff known as Cuckoo Spit that appears on your plants in late spring?

 

Thank you to the Royal Horticultural Society website for this information:

What is Cuckoo Spit?

Cuckoo Spit is a white frothy liquid secreted by the nymphs of a sap-sucking insect known as a froghopper.

Symptoms

Blobs of white frothy liquid develop on young stems and leaves of a range of plants in late spring and summer including chrysanthemum, dahlia, fuchsia, lavender, rosemary, parsley, rose and willow
Each blob contains a creamy white insect nymph up to 4-6mm (¼in) long
Usually plant growth is unaffected, but, if the nymph has been feeding at the shoot tip, this may cause some distorted growth

Control

Apart from producing the ‘spit’ these insects have little detrimental effect on plants and can be tolerated
If considered unsightly, they can be wiped off by hand or dislodged with a jet of water from a garden hose
There is no need to use an insecticide against froghoppers

Biology

This froth has no connection with cuckoos. It is known as Cuckoo Spit as it appears in late Spring when the cuckoo call is usually heard.
It is secreted by the immature stages of sap-sucking insects known as froghoppers, presumably as a means of protecting themselves against predators
The adult insects are present during mid-late summer and live openly on  plants. They do not produce cuckoo spit or cause any noticeable damage
Overwintering eggs are deposited in plant stems in late summer

Leave a comment