With Florida’s mild temperatures and abundant rainfall, life is spawning everywhere, especially when it comes to plants and insects. For example, when conditions are favorable you may notice an invasion of small black insects in your lawn which are about 1/4 inch long with two red lines across their backs. These invaders are called Spittlebugs.
Generally, Spittlebugs do not pose a major threat to Florida lawns. However, during abundant spring and summer rainfall along with high humidity, their population may increase considerably. Another factor that may contribute to their increase is excessive turf thatch.
The nymphs are white to yellow in color with a brown head. For protection, they surround themselves with a mass of white frothy spittle, hence the name Spittlebug.
Although both nymphs and adults feed on the turf, damage is unlikely. Feeding may cause a purple or white stripe along the grass blades. Because adult Spittlebugs are strong fliers, some may fly in from neighboring lawns. However, this does not indicate an infestation.
Although there is nothing you can do to prevent abundant rainfall, you can minimize infestation by reducing your irrigation. Also, thatch can be greatly reduced through Florida Pest Control’s Turf Aeration Program.