Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Turkey Tracks: Bug Mystery Solved–a Spittle Bug

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Turkey Tracks:  June 19, 2012

Bug Mystery Solved–A Spittle Bug

When we were in Charleston, Kelly and Talula were deep into observing local bugs–which if you know me at all, you know their interest delighted me totally.

“Have you seen a Love Bug, Lovey?” they asked.

I had no idea what a Love Bug was, so we went to view one.  After coming through the grass for a bit, they turned up this little beetle-like bug, which was black with orange stripes and about 1/4-inch long.

We searched every way I knew on the internet–under beetle.  I didn’t think of searching bug.  But, could not find an image matching this creature.

A few days later, Tami identified it while reading her Master Gardeners course book. “It’s a Spittle Bug,” she said.  And the nymph form is bright green and makes itself a ball of surrounding spit.

A flashlight went off in my head.  I have those spit balls in my garden here in Maine.  Here’s a ball of spittle bubbles on a Tickseed plant.

When you uncoat it, the little green nymph appears.

And walks around on our hand…

Don!’t you love the intricacy of bugs!

PS:  Tami says these guys don’t do much major damage and that if you have a lot in your grass, something is “off,” like too much or too little water.  I don’t really know what they mean in a flower garden–they don’t seem to get into the veggies.  But I have about a dozen spittle balls at any one time…

Now I need to see what the difference is between a bug and a beetle…

Written by louisaenright

June 19, 2012 at 11:13 am

One Response

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  1. Also your ph in your soil could be off.

    Susan Heath

    June 20, 2012 at 9:02 am


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