Spittlebug survey

Botanic Garden Conservation International’s (BGCI) International Plant Sentinel Network is promoting a survey to gather data on the host range of spittlebugs (as part of an effort to protect the UK from Xylella fastidiosa).

BGCI’s International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) has been asked by Defra to help with some work they are doing into protecting the UK from Xylella fastidiosa. As part of this, they are hoping to collect information on current hosts of spittlebugs which are known to vector the disease.

This is a great public engagement activity, getting visitors to look out for the conspicuous ‘cuckoo spit’ produced by the nymphs. We are not looking for anyone to identify the pest, so it can be open to anyone, and the reason for concentrating on gardens is so that (hopefully) they will be able to find the host name – which is the important part.

This could be:

–        Simply reporting to reception

–        A table where they fill in host name and date

–        Potentially a chalkboard or a white board which can be noted down at the end of a week/day etc.

This information would then need to be sent through to Dominic Eyre (Dominic.Eyre@defra.gsi.gov.uk) who works for Defra and has requested the information (similarly, if you have any technical questions, please feel free to contact him directly).

It will also be an excellent opportunity to showcase the potential of the work of the IPSN, and plant collections in general. Not only will it collect valuable information for plant health, but it will also offer an opportunity to engage the public.

The survey would require showcasing the  poster below (designed in A3, but could work bigger) in your entrance/visitor centre and providing an alternative reporting mechanism (other than twitter) for those not tech savvy. The poster has a place at the bottom for you to write in instructions.

We are really keen to promote this survey as much as possible, and it will hopefully act as a pilot project for potential future plant health engagement/citizen science  activities.

Please let ellie.barham@bgci.org know if you wish to participate. She will publicise your involvement on the IPSN news page, and on twitter.

If you are willing to participate, Ellie can  also send you the word doc of the poster so that you can add your logo, or add in directions for reporting as you wish.

Twitter  #Spittlebug

More information from IPSN