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cuckoo spit

cootambear Posts: 1,474 Forumite
Combo Breaker First Post
Inspecting one of my strawbs I noticed some of that stuff of prosaic memory, cuckoo spit.

Now being a grown gardener, I realise that things that were twee in childhood (like dandelion seeds) can be non benign.

A protective bubble wrapping for the froghopper which sucks sap and distorts the young growth of flowering plants such as chrysanthemum, geum and solidago.

Cuckoo spit is a mass of frothy bubbles on stems of plants.

Treatment and control
Spray with a broad spectrum insecticide
Hose with a strong jet of water to wash off the hidden pests.

The frothy sap tastes nasty to deter predators. I checked my other plants, half are affected! especially the big ones. The spit is right under where the leaves start to split. I`ve hosed the bggers off, there are some on my other plants too.

That way they bugs have a chance of being eaten by predators, I hope.I think the dry weather is helping them heavy rain would wash a few off I think.

Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2 = 4 (George Orwell, 1984).

(I desire) ‘a great production that will supply all, and more than all the people can consume’,

(Sylvia Pankhurst).


  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    I wouldn't do anything about them. They're fairly harmless.
  • BallandChain
    BallandChain Posts: 1,922 Forumite
    Do you know I always wondered what that was on plants. I've seen it on the lavender growing outside and that's one mystery solved!
    Cuckoo spit
    Plants affected: Affects many plants in early summer.

    Symptoms: Frothy white ‘spittle’ on plant stems in early summer.

    Prevention/Control: A yellowish insect lives inside the froth where it sucks on the sap. It looks more serious than it is. If you can be bothered, wash the ‘spittle’ off with a hose. Otherwise leave it, because it causes no damage.

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