Spittlebug

Order/Family: Homoptera/Cercopidae

Description:

  • They are dull colored.
  • The head is triangular, and the wings are held tent-like over the abdomen.
  • They are 1/4- to 1/2-inch long.
  • The small nymphs are greenish yellow and can be found under a “ball of spit” on twigs.
  • They have piercing and sucking mouthparts.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • They overwinter as eggs in bark cracks.
  • Adults and nymphs feed on plant juices.
  • Developing nymphs feed and develop while covered with an accumulation of spittle.
  • Some species produce a toxin that destroys plant tissue.
  • Typically there is one generation per year.

 

Plants Attacked:

  • Dogwood, alder, birch, pine, holly, witch hazel, and redbud.

Damage:

  • Leaf stunting may occur, followed by distortion and twig dieback.
  • Occasionally diseases, such as a fungus in pines, are introduced through feeding sites.