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Bug Hunt Survey - volunteers wanted!


Bug hunt: Volunteers needed to spot insect’s ‘spittle’ – BBC News

I heard about this on the radio today and my ears pricked up as I had noticed ‘Cuckoo spit’ on both a Lavender shrub and a Rosemary shrub yesterday evening.

Today, whilst dead-heading, I saw another couple of them on a Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’.

There are ten species of Spittlebug in the UK and the young – called nymphs – all produce whitish, frothy blobs of spittle on leaves and branches.

It may not be as interesting as counting birds or butterflies but I do think it is a worthwhile survey and shall be doing my bit to help!

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ShirleyT I also heard this on the radio this morning,and I am on spittle watch too.

26 May, 2019


Well done Callie!

I told my daughter about this survey and her face just fell in a 'rather you than me Mum' kind of way!!

26 May, 2019


my youngest has been active in surveying them on the nature reserve she works at. she had to do a course on their id to make the task easier. She is accruing a lot of info that will be useful when she completes her degree next year.

26 May, 2019


Noticed them here on the large Hebe.

26 May, 2019


Well done Shirley, and thanks for telling us.

26 May, 2019


I read about this yesterday & when Seaburn mentioned cuckoo spit in a thread earlier I couldn't for the life of me remember where I'd read it. Just that the link to the research site hadn't worked so thanks Shirley!
The research was prompted by a type of spittlebug that hasn't reached the UK just yet but spreads a fairly damaging virus I believe?

26 May, 2019


I see loads of cucoo spit in my garden every year, it's horrible stuff and I spray it with pest killer. I've never seen what the adults look like.
All these spreading diseases and pests are worrying.

26 May, 2019


Darren, it's called Xyllela fastidiosa and is destroying many Olive trees in the Puglia region of Italy. Scary!!

Hywel, I agree, worrying indeed ... :o((

27 May, 2019


Hi Shirley, I saw this on TV a couple of days ago too. I noticed this "cuckoo spit" was on some of my lavender this morning. I've seen it before on rosemary too over the years.

27 May, 2019


No need to spray with pest killer though. Those spray bottles that you pressurise with a pump do the job with cuckoo spit bugs. Just adjust the nozzle to a stream & knock 'em off when you notice them.
Using insecticide could harm anything that predates on them & our native types aren't really harmful.
Funny that I've mainly seen them on my Italian parsley & they're damaging olive trees. If they start on the basil & peppers could be a spag bol crisis!๐Ÿ˜„

27 May, 2019


I am always coming across cookoo spit, would I be right in saying it belongs to the frog hopper,, if you look in the spit you will normally see a light greenish bug and have always been told itโ€™s not really troublesome, is the spittlebug spit different to this?

27 May, 2019


No, you're right Julien, the insects do look like tiny, hunched frogs close up. The problem is that sap sucking insects spread the xyllela fastidiosa bacteria that's killing olive trees.
The ones in the UK already aren't a major problem on their own but if they start spreading xyllela then they become a problem.
It's a bit like a person with the flu visiting a country that has never had influenza, there are no naturally developed defences in the population but those that are inherently vulnerable carriers of flu will spread it uncontrollably quickly

27 May, 2019


Haven't seen any cuckoo spit in the garden yet this year, can't remember seeing any last year either but there is plenty along an old railway line where we walk our dogs. Thanks for the info Shirley..

28 May, 2019


Sue, when we came home from a drive out earlier, the Lavender, a Rose stem and a Geum all had quite a few 'frothy bits' on them! I shall have a proper look at what's inside it tomorrow ...

28 May, 2019


Like you I have it on my Lavender.

29 May, 2019


there are many species of frog and leaf hoppers in the uk and we should not go round just killing them just in case they may be carrying Xyella. they are part of many food chains. the spittle often contains the immature larvae rather than the adult but that depends on the species involved.

according to the RHS Xyella disease it hasn't been detected/found in the UK yet. confirmation is by laboratory testing . But importation of plants legally and illegally are the main concern for the uk. This is why we shouldn't bring cuttings of shrubs back from our holidays etc. and why there should be phytosanitary certificates for any plant importedI do wonder how 'healthy' the plants imported for shows like Chelsea actually are.

30 May, 2019


Does that go for seeds from abroad too Seaburngirl.?

31 May, 2019


Seeds shouldnt carry disease if they have been dried correctly. but ones we collect ourselves may have fungal problems if not fully dried.

1 Jun, 2019

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