Twolined Spittlebugs in Turf


Adult twolined spittlebugs resemble robust, black leafhoppers with two red stripes across the back. The wings are held rooflike over the back in an inverted "V." Adults are about 13 inch long. The eyes are bright red. The abdomen is bright red and shows conspicuously when in flight.

Nymphs resemble the adults, but are smaller and lack wings. Nymphs are yellow, white or orange, but have red eyes and brown heads. The most unusual characteristic of this stage is the spittlemass. The white, frothy spittlemass envelopes the nymph and provides protection from desiccation and predators.

Chemical Control

The only accurate way to assess the need to treat is to search through the turf down near the soil line and actually find the spittlebugs. This requires some time and effort. The turfgrass must be examined closely by parting the grass and looking for the spittlemasses that surround the nymphs. After control is obtained, the area should be periodically rechecked Reinfestation can occur quickly since the two-lined spittlebug has at least two generations per year in this state.

The best time to check for nymphs and to apply pesticides to turfgrasses is late in the day because the nymphs are higher on the plants than during the hot midday.

Numerous insecticides are labeled to control spittlebugs on turf and if properly applied, most perform well. Good coverage is essential. Granular formulations are not as effective as spray formulations. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.

Insecticide and Formulation

Amount per 1,000 sq ft

Precaution and Remarks

acephate* (Orthene, T, T&O) 75 S 1 oz
bifenthrin* (Menace, Talstar, others) F, GC; G form also available 0.25 to 0.5 fl oz Use GC formulation for golf courses.
carbaryl* (Sevin) 80 WSP 0.75 to 1.5 oz
chlorpyrifos* (Dursban) 4 E, 50 WSP, Pro See label For use on golf courses; check new label.
deltamethrin (Deltagard) G 2 to 3 lb

Written By

Photo of Rick Brandenburg, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Rick BrandenburgExtension Specialist (Peanuts & Turf) & Department Extension Leader (919) 515-8876 rick_brandenburg@ncsu.eduEntomology & Plant Pathology - NC State University
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