Q: I have a problem every summer with an infestation of twolined spittlebug in my centipedegrass. How should I control them?
A: Adult spittlebugs are black with two orange stripes across their wings. The nymphs are yellow-green with a brown head. The young ones are surrounded at the base of a grass plant by a mass of white frothy spittle that they excrete for protection. Both adults and nymphs suck juices from the grass but damage is caused primarily by the adults through the injection of plant-toxic saliva.
A good cultural way to control spittlebugs is to mow no higher than 1 1/2 inches and to avoid irrigation.
If you choose to use an insecticide, mow and irrigate twenty four hours beforehand. Spray a liquid insecticide late in the day when nymphs are higher on the plants. Mid-May is a good time to do this, with a followup application in July or August.
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