Nov 042013

Spittlebug: The Soap Foam Bug

A few days ago I wrote about our visit to the Nature farm where they grow organic food and do not use any chemical pesticides. While walking on the farm I noticed a small foam kind of thing on one of the plants.

It was as if somebody was washing clothes and dropped some soapy foam there at best or somebody had spit at worst.  As it was just below a wild flower it was looking rather out-of-place. I clicked a few pictures and was wondering what it could be. I remembered something called Foam bug or more scientifically Spittle bugs. They are also called Froghoppers due to the ability to jump many times its length just like a frog.

Spittle bug with yellow flower

Spittle bugs leave a trail of soap foam kind of substance

Soon I found more of the same foamy substance on a few more plants. In most cases the foam was near a joint of leaf and branch on the plant. On careful examination it appeared there was an Insect larvae in the foam. I   decided to click some more pictures and did some search on Mr. Google. The foam is secreted by the larvae and the adults control the urge to spit all around and behave like good citizens ( Pan and Gutka chewers please learn: even bugs don’t spit around when they grow up)

Spittle bug foam bug

Foam, bug, spit take your pick: The larvae is inside the foam

Ant examining spittle bug near red flower bud

An ant visiting  Spittle bug near a red bud

So these foamy bugs or Spittlebugs are from a family of bugs called Cercopidae and the foam is believed to provide protection to the bug from predators besides providing a good comfortable place move around. The foam is produced by larvae of bugs at a fast rate while feeding on the sap of the plant. But overall the spittle bugs do not cause much harm and can be left alone, unless you find a major infestation (unlikely).  If you grow organic food in your garden some of these bugs are a sign that your food is free from insecticides and pesticides.  I think it is a small price to pay for healthy food free of pesticides and insecticides. If you feel that the spittle bugs are causing too much damage you can simple hose them with water and they will go away after a few drenching.

Spittle bug foam closeup

Greenery reflected through a water droplet coming out of foam of the bug

So have you noticed Spittle bugs i.e. foam/spit bugs or any other bugs/insects on your walks through the garden?

Here is another post about the preciously beautiful Jewel Bugs that I clicked some time back.

Useful reads

  1. Spittle Bugs
  2. Froghopper
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Pictures taken with Nikon D7000, 18-105 VR Lens, in day light.


  17 Responses to “A Soap Foam like bug: Spittlebug”

Comments (17)
  1. have been coming across these all over Western Ghats wondering what it’s…Thank you so much for the enlightening 🙂

    Checking out if I can ReBlog it…

  2. looks fantastic 🙂

  3. Great shots and interesting information.

  4. First of all, Fab pictures!!

    I think I’ve seen some of these. I’d been told it held eggs of some creature but didn’t know of the spittlebugs. Nice to learn about them. Thank you, Desitraveler.:)

  5. Very Nice and Informative Post..I never knew about this one.. 🙂

  6. I have seen these and always wondered what they were. Nice informative post on this with pics.

    btw why Mr. Google why not Ms. ? 🙂

    • Thanks Indrani. On your question Google was started by two guys and their Top women executive who worked on the customer side left and joined Yahoo as CEO, so yahoo can be Ms. not Google.. 🙂

  7. Awesome! Never seen before!

  8. I saw these foamy formations many times, was very curious but never had time to find out more about it, I vaguely remember a breed of a frog does similar thing to cover up its eggs. Thanks for the research and letting all of us know about these bugs.

  9. Beautiful captures and very informative!

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