In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to get rid of spittlebugs naturally and also by using chemical methods.
If you own a garden, I’m quite sure you’d love to see all your plants looking fresh and healthy. But have you ever noticed a white foam or spit-like substance on your leaves? If you have then brace yourself, spittlebugs have invaded your plants.
These tiny insects do not cause any major harm to your plants, but they give them a very unpleasant look. If you’d like to remedy this problem then keep reading.
What Do Spittlebugs Look Like?
Spittlebugs attach themselves to plants and build their nests on leaves. These nests are usually colored white, and this is where they hide to protect themselves from predators and harsh winter conditions.
As they reproduce, the young spittlebugs do the same, excreting the foamy substance over the plant and hide there as well.
These insects are experts at hiding so you may never see them.
As I mentioned earlier, they cause very little damage to your plants, but they occasionally suck up some sap from trees.
How To Get Rid Of Spittlebugs
Even though the insects themselves are concealed, their nests are very visible. There are several ways by which you can get rid of them.
I’ll list them out below.
Locate Their Nests
The first thing you should do is locate all the spots where they have nested. If you find one, then you can be sure there are more.
You can mark all the nesting areas you find so you won’t forget any when you return with your hose.
You can place a stick beside each tree that has a spittlebug nest. To be more accurate, place a stick (or sticks) directly beneath each branch that has been infested.
Use Hose And Water
This is the most basic means by which you can remove the spittlebugs from your plants.
Connect the hose to a running tap and move from one marked tree to the other, blasting then away with the water gushing out of the hose.
You need to be sure that the water pressure is high enough to blast them off, a simple spray may not get them all out.
Since these bugs are good at hiding, do not concentrate only on the visible parts of the tree. You should also spray on the branches, especially at the point where the branch connects to the trunk, as that is one of their favorite nesting points.
After you’ve completed the first round of spraying, you can go round each of the infested trees one more time to be sure you get them all.
The advantage of this method of removing spittlebugs is its safety. I’d do not require the use of chemicals so you can be sure that your plants are safe. It also gives you the chance to water your plants at the same time.
The downside of this approach that you have to repeat the process regularly, as the water will not kill the bugs, it only knocks them and their nests off. They may eventually climb back up the tree and nest again. Although that will take some time.
I have to also mention that this approach is suitable if you’re dealing with a small number of spittlebugs.
Larger numbers will require a more thorough insect extermination method.
Pesticides can be used to get rid of large numbers of spittlebugs.
Most pesticides will work well to eliminate a spittlebug infestation. It is recommended that you use an organically made pesticide, one that will not harm your trees.
They aren’t hard to find, you can get one at your local gardening store.
When you’ve marked out the spots where they have nested, grab a can of the pesticide and spray directly on the leaves or branches where they have built their nests.
The advantage of using this method is that the pesticides will kill the bugs so you’re sure they won’t climb up the tree and nest again.
Also, some pesticides have repelling qualities, so they can discourage other bugs from visiting your trees.
Use Predatory Insects
This is a measure many would not wish to take since you’re bringing an insect in to get rid of another. However, some insects cause little to no damage to your trees, and yet they help you get rid of the annoying bugs.
A praying mantis, for example, they feast on basically any insect smaller than them, including spittlebugs. You can get a handful of them and introduce them to your garden and allow them to feast away on the spittlebugs.
The mantises will destroy the spittlebug nests in search of food and eat up as many as they can find.
The good news is, the mantises will not only eat the spittlebugs, but also any other problematic insect in your garden. You can expect them to go away on their own after they have exhausted the food source in your garden.
Try Plant-Based Oils
Need oil is a tested and trusted substance when it comes to fighting off bugs. The oil irritates spittlebugs and drives them away.
Citrus-based oils are quite effective too. Apply the oil on affected trees regularly until all the spittlebugs are gone.
Homemade Remedies For Spittlebugs
If you’re the DIY type, then you can make your spittlebug pesticide, using only organic materials.
Here are the things you will need –
- 1/2 cup of hot pepper
- 6 cloves of diced garlic
- 2 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of liquid soap (soap must not contain bleach)
Put these items into a container and mix them thoroughly so they all blend in nicely. Allow it to sit for 24 hours before using it for the best results.
Remember to make a batch that’s enough to handle the number of spittlebugs you’re dealing with.
Gently wipe the foam off the plant using a dry cloth or paintbrush, then apply the mixture on the leaves and branches.
Repeat the process the next day on all the affected trees. You can do this weekly to remove them and repel them from coming back.
The garlic and soap mixture will irritate the spittlebugs and kill them if they do not leave their nests.
How To Keep Spittlebugs Away From Your Yard
After you’ve successfully gotten rid of the spittlebug infestation on your trees, you would want to prevent them from returning.
I don’t assume you’d want to tackle the same problem over and over again.
Follow these steps to keep spittlebugs away from your yard –
Clear Up All little Of Leaves And Debris
Spittlebugs love old plant debris, that is where they are fond of laying their eggs, so they are most likely going to reside on as many as they can find.
If the bugs cannot find a suitable environment to lay their eggs, then they would find somewhere else besides your yard to do so.
Make it a habit to constantly clear out any plant debris you find around your garden. Keeping it debris-free is the first preventive measure you should take.
If you find any decaying organic material in your garden, then make sure those are removed as well.
Constant mowing of your lawn and general garden maintenance will go a long way in keeping the bugs away.
The less plant debris you have in your yard, the fewer spittlebugs there will be.
Too Much Watering Will Attract The Bugs
Your garden plants need water to thrive, but only in the right amount. Overwatering your garden isn’t such a good idea if you are looking to keep the spittlebugs out.
This is because too much watering over time will lead to the accumulation of thatch, and that will attract the spittlebugs.
Use A Bug Repellent
Occasional use of bug repellants around your lawn will keep the spittlebugs out. You would want to go for one that is organically made, just to ensure the safety of your plants.
After removing all the plant debris, apply the repellant all over your yard, especially in areas where there has been a high concentration of spittlebug infestation.
There are many brands of repellants in the market, I suggest you buy one that has a long-lasting effect. Some repellants can remain active for up to 90 days upon application. That’s the kind you need.
Make it a habit to apply bug repellants after the one you buy has reached its duration. That should be every 1 to 3 months.
What Trees Are Spittlebugs Attracted To?
Generally, spittlebugs are attracted to decaying plant debris, but they also cling on to healthy trees regularly.
Their favorites include pine trees, ornamental plants, strawberries, and clover trees.
If you have such trees in your garden, then you need to pay extra attention to them and check for signs of infestations.
Spittlebugs do little harm to your garden, but they leave you plants looking ghastly.
Follow the tips above to get rid of them.
I hope this article on how to get rid of spittlebugs has been helpful.