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Boreal Community Media

No, that's not spit in your garden

Jul 12, 2023 09:53AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - July 12, 2023

If you've been walking through your garden, town, or on a hike the past couple of weeks, you may have come across a 'blob' on plants that looked like spit. But what is it really?

Boreal Community Media reached out to the University of Minnesota Extension Office to ask. 

Here was the response:

A few years ago while trekking around in a meadow with my granddaughter she yelled out to me, “Poppa did you just spit on this plant?” Your words are quite apt. You are looking at a spittle bug. Actually the nymph. Wonder why it got its name? If you were to delve into this foamy deposit you would discover a small green worm.

So here’s the deal. This is the nymph stage of the Meadow spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius). The adult female laid eggs last year (2021) that overwintered on this plant. These eggs hatched early this spring to yield a nymph that as a protective measure, and in conjunction with the plant, produced this foamy substance.

This nymph will soon morph into a rather nondescript adult. What you are now seeing poses no danger to you nor, if applicable, to your pets,  Just enjoy the buffet that nature is presenting to you.  

See the following resources for more information:
Isn't nature amazing?

Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 9, 2022.