Spittlebugs feed on a wide assortment of landscape shrubs, trees, or turf, with the potential to cause some level of damage to the plant if populations are high. Most often it is the presence of the unsightly “spit” like blobs of white foam that cause concern to homeowners. Depending on the species there may be 1 or 2 generations each year, with the egg stage over-wintering.
Simply washing spittle masses off the plants may be sufficient to control small numbers of the insects. The use of an insecticidal soap also can penetrate the spittle and provide contact kill, or the use of a residual insecticide such as a pyrethroid can be effective. The spray should be directed at the spittle masses to ensure the insecticide penetrates to contact the actual insect. A soil application of a systemic such as imidacloprid can be effective if applied well prior to the onset of the infestation, and continue to be effective throughout the growing season.