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Spittlebug adult
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Spittlebug - adult
See also: larva | damage

Scientific Name: Cercopidae: several species

Status: minor pest of agricultural crops

Damaging Stage: nymph and adult

Biology: Spittlebugs derive their name from the white, frothy spittle the nymphs produce. Adults resemble leafhoppers but can be quite large, measuring approximately 1/3 inch long. The eyes are bright red, and the body color varies from brown to orange. Common species have dark wings with two red stripes that cross the back. Spittlebug nymphs produce a characteristic white foamy substance that surrounds them as they feed on the sap of a host plant. Spittlebugs can be found on both herbaceous and woody plants.

In late summer, adults lay their eggs, which then overwinter. The eggs hatch in early spring, and the nymphs go through five instars before emerging as adults. It takes approximately forty to fifty-two days to complete the life cycle. They complete two or three generations per year.