Two-lined Spittlebug

Order/Family: Homoptera/Cercopidae

Description:

  • Color – dark brown to dark gray with two red stripes across the wings, red legs, and eyes.
  • The head is triangular, and the wings are held tent-like over the abdomen.
  • They are 3/8-inch long.
  • The small nymphs are yellow, turn orange as they molt, and can be found under a “ball of spit” on grass leaves.
  • They have piercing and sucking mouthparts.

 

Biology and Habits:

  • Typically they occur in southeastern states and west to Texas.
  • They overwinter as eggs in thatch, in soil, behind leaf sheaths, or in slits in grass leaves.
  • Eggs hatch in March and April.
  • Developing nymphs feed and develop while covered with an accumulation of spittle.
  • Development (egg to adult) requires 4 to 7 weeks.
  • Adults produce in mid-summer produce a second generation. The females lay 45 eggs over a two week period and the nymphs complete development in 4 weeks.
  • There are two generations per year.

 

Turf Attacked:

  • Centipede, bermuda, St. Augustine, rye and bahia grasses.

 

 

Damage:

  • The most significant an damage occurs in mid-summer, typically beginning in shady areas.
  • In drought stressed turf, feeding causes the grass to become yellow, then brown, and eventually die.
  • As the adult feed, the inject a toxin which moves throughout the stem and causes the grass to die.