Two-lined Spittlebug of holly

Disease Information

Two-lined Spittlebug

 Two-lined Spittlebug (Prosapiabicincta) is primarily an insect pest of Southern turfgrasses, especially centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass, but also of certain trees and shrubs. `Savannah`, `East Palatka` and `Foster` hollies may be significantly damaged by adult spittlebug feeding in the late summer and early fall.


The adult is about a 1/3-inch long and brown with 2 orangish-red stripes on the wings. The nymph (immature stage) is white or yellowish and without wings. Nymphs create the white, frothy spittlemass which helps keep them moist and protects them from predators and parasites.

Symptoms and damage

this insect over-winters as eggs (generally laid in turfgrass). The eggs hatch in lateMarch or April and the nymphs suck leaf sap from turfgrass. After approximately a month, the nymphs become winged adults, which also feed upon turfgrass sap. A second generation of eggs is laid, again in turfgrass, where the nymphs will feed. However, it is the resulting second generation of adults that cause the most damage, both in lawns, but also in nearby ornamentals, such as on certain types of hollies. Holly leaf damage from adult feeding can be leaf distortion, wilting, discoloration of younger leaves, blotches on older leaves, and leaf-drop.


 In late summer or early fall when damage occurs, apply an insecticidal spray to control the adult feeding. Sprays will last about 10 – 14 days. An insecticidal spray containing one of the following active ingredients will reduce damage by adult spittlebugs: acephate, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, lambda-cyhalothrin or permethrin. In anticipation of adult spittlebug damage the next year, another means of control is to use a soilapplied insecticide in the spring as new growth appears on the shrubs. These products contain imidacloprid, which will move up and throughout the shrub and protect the holly from most insect damage for a year. These products are either granules or liquids that are applied around the base of the hollies. 

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