‘Foster’ Holly – Spittlebug control

Q: My ‘Foster’ holly is covered with black bugs. They are about a half-inch long, with orange stripes running across the body. I hope they don’t kill the holly!

A: Your holly is hosting adult spittlebugs. ‘Foster’ and ‘Nellie Stevens’ hollies are known to be attractive to them but ‘Burford’ and yaupon holly are resistant. You probably saw the “spit globs” of spittlebug nymphs at the base of your turfgrass and garden plants in late spring. Although adult spittlebugs can feed heavily on holly leaves, the hollies don’t seem to be hurt much. If you see lots of yellow leaves, spray with a garden insecticide.

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