Invasive spittlebug threatens Hawaii grazing land - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Invasive spittlebug threatens Hawaii grazing land

(Image: Wikimedia Commons) (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - University of Hawaii and state officials are joining forces to contain an insect that is threatening grazing lands on the Big Island.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports Monday that the spittlebug has been found at two ranches in Kona since September, including one property that had about 2,000 acres of damaged pasture.

The spittlebug, which creates "spittle masses" where nymphs mature into adults, feeds at the base of grasses and sucks fluid from the plants. Over time, this weakens the grass and can kill it.

The two-lined spittlebug is native to the southeastern United States. It's not known how it arrived on the Big Island.

State agriculture officials are working with the Florida Department of Agriculture to identify natural enemies of the insect.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly