Skip to Content

Insect: Spittle bug, Rain tree bug, Froghopper

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
User avatar
tiggercat
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:04 am
Location: west coast East London...(SA)

Insect: Spittle bug, Rain tree bug, Froghopper

Unread postby tiggercat » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:29 pm

Image

Does anyone have any idea what these little guys are ??
I discovered a big "bunch" of them in a coral tree in our garden last week, and they were covered in a foam nest, and today a couple have moved slightly away from the group but they are still making foam to cover themselves with individually. They are about 1 -2 cm long.
Ive never seen anything like them before, so Im hoping someone else has !!

User avatar
tiggercat
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:04 am
Location: west coast East London...(SA)

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby tiggercat » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:37 pm

Here's one of the group in their foam nestImage

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14503
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:06 pm

It is a spittle bug, also known as a rain tree bug. The name is derived from the fluid they exude which can be seen as spittle or even rain when heavy infestations occur.

They suck the sap from the trees as their food. With the excess fluid, they create a foam nest, that protects them against predators. Both adults and nymphs do this. These on your photos are still nymphs. They can reach 30 - 35 mm.

They target Rain trees, but also Tipuanas, Acacias and the Rhus family amongst others.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Dotty
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 19663
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Location: another national park.. in England

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby Dotty » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:51 pm

Thanks Imberbe interesting :clap: Here in the UK we call it the Cuckoo Spit (it arrives around the same time as the cuckoo) but it is a very plain little green bug.
KUDU's mean Well done and Thank you

User avatar
tiggercat
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:04 am
Location: west coast East London...(SA)

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby tiggercat » Mon Oct 19, 2009 9:10 pm

THANKS so much Imberbe for the ID :thumbs_up:
I hope they dont do any harm to the tree ~~ I may have to take the small branch off and take it to the farm adjoining !!

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14503
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:08 pm

:thumbs_up:

In small numbers they will not harm the tree, but in large numbers they can have a significant impact. But then again, an over population do tend to sort it self out over time.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
tiggercat
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:04 am
Location: west coast East London...(SA)

Re: BUG ID ???

Unread postby tiggercat » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:15 pm

:thumbs_up:

Vaalboy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:58 am

Insect: Froghopper (Spittlebugs)

Unread postby Vaalboy » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:04 am

Hoping someone can assist. We live in KZN and have a big "Umbrella" tree in our front yard. One day I noticed a wet patch on our driveway which is under one of the tree branches and just thought it was as a result of recent rains. However when the rain stopped and things dried up the wet patch stayed. Looking up, I noticed what looked like wet toilet paper wrapped around a branch dripping this clear liquid. It is so far up, I can't take a photograph, but it drips a clear liquid (looks like water) continually. I was thinking along the lines of some type of fungus or parasite. It does not appear to be spreading, it's just a real pain having a wet pool on my driveway all the time.

User avatar
lee lewis
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:08 pm
Location: Durban, South Africa

Re: What could this be?

Unread postby lee lewis » Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:57 am

Hi there!

If you go to the "Insects and Invertibrates" Forum, you will notice a thread by name of "Bug ID". Although I am no expert, I think your 'wet patch' is caused by the same insect.
"To be playing a part, no matter how small, in the conservation of our dwindling wildlife is an experience I shall always cherish." - Stuart Hilcove

I SAY NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK!

Phacochoerus
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:20 pm

Re: What could this be?

Unread postby Phacochoerus » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:12 pm

I live in the Eastern Cape and we have a similar thing with Coral trees. They seem to weep clear drops from specific areas of the branches. I have heard locals call it 'spitbugs', sucking sap from the tree. Apparently it does not kill the host tree. Hope this very unscientific bit of information helps...

User avatar
iNkwazi
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 769
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:29 pm
Location: Northcliff, SA

Re: What could this be?

Unread postby iNkwazi » Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:03 pm

They’re known as “spittlebugs”, and are nymphs from the insect order hemiptera (sub order homoptera, family cercopidae!).

They suck a copious quantity of sap from trees – much more than they need to feed on – then they mix most of the sap with air and a little bit of waxy substance which keeps it all together. As the foam nests get too large, they start dripping, which is why one of their other nicknames is the rain tree bug.

The spittlebugs can look a lot like tiny frogs, so they’re sometimes called froghoppers, too. They eventually develop into flying insects and then off they go until they start the cycle all over again and yet another tree gets to play host to the frothy nests.
It takes one tree to make 10,000 matches, but one match to burn 10,000 trees.

Vaalboy
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:58 am

Re: What could this be?

Unread postby Vaalboy » Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:00 pm

Awesome guys - thank you for the information and feedback.

o-dog
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango

Re: What could this be?

Unread postby o-dog » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:11 pm

Nicely explained Inkwazi!!
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec


Return to “Insects and other invertebrates”