Spittle Bugs

Two Lined Spittle Bugs in North Florida Lawns  


Description of Spittle Bugs: 

    Adult spittle bugs are black with red eyes and legs and have two orange stripes across their wings. They are ¼ inch long. Nymphs are white to pale yellow with a brownish head. They are enveloped in white frothy spittle that they excrete for protection.  

Damage to Lawns: 

Both Nymphs and larvae feed on grass blades by sucking juices out of the plant. Infected wilts and the tops turn yellow then brown and curled. 

Feeding Habits: 

Spittle bugs prefer Centipede lawn grass and sometimes on Bermuda and some ornamental plants such as Holly and sometimes redbud trees or cherry. 

Reproduction and Life Cycle of Spittle Bugs in Jacksonville | St. Augustine | North Florida areas: 

     There are two generations of spittlebug each year. Eggs are laid and go through 5 nymphal stages before reaching maturity in about 2 1/2 months time. Eggs laid in the second generation overwinter and hatch and begin their growth cycle the following spring usually around March or April. Adults are abundant in June and again in August and September.  

Control of Spittle bugs on the Lawn: 

            Natural Controls: 



When identified in the lawn, mow and remove clippings from the site. Removing thatch from the lawn will drastically reduce spittlebug issues.  

Following proper watering guides may help spittle bug populations as well because they need moist conditions for peak development 


Water the lawn with ½ inch of water prior to chemical treatment. Diazanon is the chemical of choice for spittle bug treatment. 

A Word of Caution from Me to You: 

     Perhaps it is my many years of dealing with the people in the Agriculture industry who have lived long lives and encountered many troubles with chemicals during their careers, but I cannot talk about chemical control without at least my mentioning the following concerns. 

 Make sure to read all directions carefully and apply liquid sprays diluted with water at the application rate recommended on the product label for the pest you are targeting and do not mix stronger than suggested target treatment rates. 

      Remember that insecticides are POISONS and approach their use with caution, wear protective eye gear and chemical resistant gloves and rubber boots as well as long sleeved shirts and pants. Remember to wash these items separately from other laundry immediately after application and shower after getting the clothes into the laundry. 

Lastly but most importantly, pay particular attention to lock unused chemicals up away from visiting children and pets.  

So that’s it on the speech about chemicals, I hope I have been able to help you know what’s wrong and how to treat it so now you have to help me sleep easier by indulging me with these motherly concerns, fair trade don’t you think?  I’ll sleep easier knowing that you did.