Sucking pests

Adult spittlebugs are 6 to 8 mm long and black, brown or yellow with distinct red eyes. The adults may possess orange bands on the wings, depending on the species. Nymphs are cream-colored with brown heads and red eyes. Generally, spittlebugs don’t cause significant plant damage, although they may stipple leaves.

Spittlebug nymphs produce a frothy white mass or “spittle” in the center of stems or leaf axils. This covering protects spittlebugs from predators and environmental conditions.


A hard water spray will quickly remove spittlebugs from plants. Contact insecticides may be used, although their effectiveness is often reduced by the frothy covering, which prevents the insecticide from making contact with spittlebug nymphs or adults.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.