Who's been spitting on my lavender plants?



Last summer, I read a fascinating article in a French newspaper about Spittlebugs (philaenus Spumarius) also called Froghoppers, and how, because of these little Cicadas looking bugs, France lost its title of the world largest lavender grower to Bulgaria!

Well, Spittlebugs prosper in the US too and one of their favorite meals is lavender. Females lay eggs that hatch into nymphs that climb up the plants stems, which they puncture to feast on the sap. In the process, they create froth-like cocoons where they hide from predators (hahaha, but not from this predator!). The tiny critters (about 12 mm) while feeding, inject bacteria that will eventually kill the plants.

You know that you are hosting Spittlebugs in your garden if you see white foam clusters on your lavender plants that look as if a bunch of kids held a spitting contest around your plantations. When I find an occasional sack of spit on my lavender plants, I act right away before it spreads. So far it has never gotten out of hand.

Organic weapon # 1: Cold water spray to remove the bugs

Organic weapon # 2: hand picking (and crushing between fingers – gloves on) the nymphs and their spit. A little spray of 75/25 white distilled vinegar and water on the gloves before going to the next plant keeps the job clean.

I’m not losing my status of the only lavender grower in the Lehigh Valley to a tiny bug!!


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