The frog hopper, or Cercopoidea can jump up to 70cm high. This is extraordinarily remarkable considering adult frog hoppers weigh around 60 times more than the common flea, and can jump higher too! Frog hoppers are generally known for the nymphal stage, which eventually progresses on to the adult frog hopper. The nymphs are encased in a foamy, spittle like substance. Hence the name Spittle bugs. This foam gives protection from predators and external climactic factors. They can usually be noticed between June to September.
One of the most upsetting facts about Frog hoppers, is their ability to transmit the plant obliterating bacteria Xylella fastidiosa. In recent years, parts of Europe have been plagued by this bacterial contamination, originating from America. It can infect a long list of plants, and experts are anxious about its eventual spread to the UK. Although no known cases have been reported to date. The disease can spread between hosts showing no symptoms, and then suddenly wipe out a whole Olive grove.
It’s important for the UK to prepare for Xylella. Forward thinking organizations such as the Royal Horticultural Society are conducting surveys, where members of the public can register Frog hopper/spittle bug sightings within the UK. This is facilitating a better understanding of their population and movement within the UK. Optimistically, this could support future preventative measures if Xylella ever made it across the sea.
RHS Spittle bug survey: Learn more about spittlebugs, Xylella and how to help the RHS with research / RHS Gardening