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Spittlebugs

Spittlebugs are present throughout the entire state, but they are more abundant in northern and northwestern Florida. They attack all turfgrass species, but centipedegrass is the most susceptible. Adults also feed on ornamental plants, especially hollies. Adults are black with red eyes and legs and have two orange stripes across their wings, and are about 1/4 inch long. The nymphs are yellow or creamy in color with a brown head. They are surrounded by a mass of white frothy spittle that they excrete for protection. Adults are most active in early morning and hide near the soil surface during the heat of the day. Spittlebug feeding causes a purple and/or white stripe to run along the grass blades of infested turfgrass. In heavy infestations, the grass wilts and the tips turn yellow, eventually brown, and then curl. In St. Augustinegrass, spittlebug injury resembles that of chinch bugs. However, unlike chinch bug injury, which tends to occur in sunny areas, spittlebug injury usually appears in shady areas. Spittlebugs are rarely a problem on well-managed turf.

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