Hi A lot of the plants in the garden have white foam on them (as kids we used to call it 'spit'). I have seen this many times in the past as housing a tiny leaf hopper and so have been leaving alone. However, my husband says they contain baby slugs. I've looked and they do contain tiny black creatures, not green hoppers, though too tiny to identify. Some of the foam is rather milky, whereas the leaf hopper foam is made from clear liquid.I thought slugs only laid eggs in the soil. Does anyone know please? I'd like to leave them be but we grow vegetables so I do pick up slugs and remove them from the garden so if they are slugs then leaving them will just create a lot more work removing them and a lot more damage before I do! thanks Nicky
Hello Nicky and welcome to WABI. I know this foam on plants as cuckoo spit and it contains froghoppers. I have not heard of any foam on plants containing slugs - can't find any reference online either.
I'm not knowledgeable enough to say the small black creatures you have seen are not slugs, but I wonder if they might be the first stage of the froghoppers and are not yet greenish in colour.
Thanks Dave. Yes, we used to call it cuckoo spit, though with no reason to associate it with cuckoos I thought that might be just a local name. On the Internet I found that some slugs give birth to live young rather than laying eggs but the names weren't species of slugs that we get here. Maybe you're right, though when I've seen hoppers in the past there's just been one creature per foam nest - perhaps the biggest eats the others? It's amazing how much there is going on that I don't know about even in my own garden! Thanks for your post.
Despite the name, it does not actually come from a bird, but is created by a small insect called a froghopper which is also known as a 'spittlebug'. The name originates from the coinciding dates of the appearance of the foamy substance on plants and the arrival of the cuckoo. The cuckoo itself does not actually spit