A particular pleasure for the sadistic gardener is picking spit (or spittle) bugs (homopterous insects of Family Cercopidae, nymph stage) off the roses. Spit bugs are often found on weeds, where they can be avoided and ignored. They also like my little pink tea rose bush; they nestle their little spit houses in the nooks where leaf or stalk branch off from a larger stalk. I take my tweezers and gently brush through the little spit house. Usually there's only one spit bug at a time, but sometimes I can find two or three together. Thanks to the miracle of surface tension, the little pest is trapped between the tines. Then it's into soapy water to die a slow, miserable death. They are fast little fellows though, and sometimes skitter away to the opposite side of the stalk. The young spit bugs are dull yellow and only a few millimetres in length. As they get older and larger, as large as half a centimetre, they turn pale spring green. They have two beady little reddish-brown eyes and six legs. As they twist and turn in the soapy water, they look like tiny little shrimp.

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