21 January 2020

Spittlebugs on the Move

Pasture pest is spreading on Hawai‘i Island

Spittlebugs on the Move

Mark Thorne, in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, is quoted in a Hawaii News Now article about the invasive pest devastating Big Island pastures, the two-lined spittlebug.  

The bug, which first appeared in 2016, kills forage grasses that cattle graze on. It’s estimated the pest has destroyed the grass on 142,000 acres so far, and it’s spreading rapidly. “We estimated this summer that it was increasing at 35,000 acres per year. I think now we’re going to have to readjust that. It’s going to be a slightly bigger number than that,” Mark explains.

Ranchers from Big Island are asking lawmakers to allocate funds to combat the spittlebug.

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