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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Spittlebugs on Plants

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11 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Spittlebugs on Plants

Looking for natural ways to keep pesky spittlebugs under control?

In this article, we’ll explore some easy and effective home remedies using ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now. We’ll also suggest natural products that work against these pests.

With just a little effort, you can keep your garden spittlebug-free the natural way. So let’s get started to find out what these natural control remedies are.


Spittlebugs, also known as froghoppers, are small insects that feed on plant sap.

To protect themselves, nymphs produce white foam blobs (spittle) [1]. The spittle serves as a shield to hide the nymphs from predators and helps them retain moisture.

The adults emerge in early summer. They resemble leafhoppers but are fatter. They also have enlarged hind legs that allow them to jump long distances.

You will likely see these pests on roses, strawberries, pine trees, chrysanthemums, grasses, and other plants. They prefer sucking on tender new growth, which can stunt the plant’s development.

How to Get Rid of Spittlebugs Naturally

The key is to take action as soon as you spot signs of spittlebugs. Below are some home remedies and natural control methods for froghoppers that you might want to try:

1. Pick Them Off

Picking off spittlebugs manually is one of the most effective natural methods to get rid of them. Regularly inspect the undersides of leaves, especially new growth, for spittle masses and the insects themselves.

Use gloved fingers or tweezers to scrape off the spittle and squash any nymphs you find. Dropping the larvae into a container of soapy water will also kill them quickly. Look for both nymphs and adults.

2. Hose Them

You can also spray the bugs off plants with a strong jet of water.

As soon as you notice the spittle masses in your garden, grab your garden hose and spray them down with water to dislodge the spittlebugs, nymphs, and eggs from the plants.

The force of the water will knock the critters off, exposing them to predators and the elements.

3. Pepper and Garlic Spray

To make a homemade spittlebug spray, combine about eight crushed hot peppers, six minced garlic cloves, and two cups of water.

Let it sit for 24 hours, then strain it through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Add a few drops of dish soap to help the spray adhere to the plant.

Spray this mixture liberally on plant leaves, especially the undersides. The solution will kill spittlebugs and deter or even kill other common plant pests.

4. Clean Up Garden

It is also a good idea to remove any garden debris to help prevent an infestation. This includes mulch, fallen leaves, and weeds around plants.

Female spittlebugs like to lay their eggs in protected spots, so clearing clutter denies them breeding spaces.

5. Row Covers

As an organic gardener, row covers are a great first line of defense against many insect pests.

You’ll want to place the covers over susceptible garden plants. Secure the edges to ensure spittlebugs and other pests cannot access your plants.

6. Natural Predators

Praying mantises and some birds are excellent natural predators of spittlebugs. Try attracting these predators to your surroundings so they can feed on spittlebugs.

7. Neem Oil

When applied properly, neem oil naturally repels all kinds of bugs.

To use neem oil for spittlebugs, dilute a few drops of 100% cold-pressed neem oil with water and a mild detergent or soap. Finally, spray this plant-based treatment on the leaves and stems of the infested plant.

8. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soaps are natural pesticides that you can also use to get rid of spittlebug infestations.

To make a simple DIY insecticidal soap, combine 4 tablespoons of natural liquid soap like castile soap with 1 gallon of water.

Mix well and spray it directly on spittlebug nymphs and adults. The soap solution will kill the critters on contact.

You can also buy premade insecticidal soap for this purpose.

9. Horticultural Oil

Another remedy to combat spittlebugs organically is to apply horticultural oil. This oil coats the bugs and eggs, smothering them on contact.

You can find horticultural oil, also known as summer oil, online. Follow the directions on the product to determine the correct dilution for your plants.

10. Bonide Captain Jack’s Orchard Spray

This product is a pesticide, a miticide, and a fungicide. One of the ingredients it relies on is pyrethrin. This compound is toxic to spittlebugs and other insect pests.

Mix it according to what the container instructions say. Also, the spray works by contact, so thorough coverage of the entire plant is important.

11. Soapy Water

Soapy water is a simple home remedy for spittlebugs. However, it may not work if you spray it directly on them, like it does with smaller, soft-bodied insects.

What we do know is that it will suffocate spittlebugs if you drop them directly into the soapy water. So, this means that you will need to mix some dish soap, like Dawn, into a container with water.

Next, pick off the bugs and eggs and drop them in the container of soap and water.


These are a few easy, natural ways to control spittlebugs without using harsh chemicals. Start by regularly hosing down affected plants to knock off the bugs and all.

You can also introduce beneficial insects, like praying mantises, to feed on the critters. Or use insecticidal soap sprays to suffocate the adults while being gentle on your plants.

Just remember that consistency and patience are key, as it may take some time to see results.

Image via commons.wikimedia.org

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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