#Spittlebug hunt

3 July 2018

The IPSN, in collaboration with Defra and botanic gardens and arboreta around the UK and Ireland ran a survey through twitter last year to identify plants that spittlebugs live on.

Spittlebugs are known to vector or are potential vectors of the disease Xylella fastidiosa. This disease is not currently in the UK and Defra drew upon the expertise and resources of the IPSN as part of their efforts to protect the UK from this disease.

As part of the #spittlebughnt we asked people to collect information on what plants spittlebugs live on, known as host plants. 

We had a great response, 65 tweets were recieved during the survey from 20 participants. 86 plants were identified as having cuckoo spit on them. The tweets were sent in by plant health officials, botanic garden staff and volunteers. 

The results have expanded the list of potential hosts for the UK and demonstrated the range of managed and unmanaged habitats that spittlebugs can be found in. 

This information has been used by plant health scientists to improve their understanding of the host range, frequency and geographical distribution to inform the pest risk analysis. The information will also be helpful as part of the contingency planning process supporting the plant health service in its efforts to prevent the introduction or spread of X. fastidiosa in the UK.

 Read the full report here 

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture are continuing the spittlebug hunt this year. Tweet your #spittlebug findings to them @ScotGovSASA