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Pest Information

Pine spittlebug

  • Latin Name: Aphrophora parallela
  • Common Name: Pine spittlebug
  • Other Names: Spruce spittlebug

Pest Details

Origin:

Native to eastern North America but spread as far west as British Columbia.

Biology:

This is a common spittlebug found throughout much of the eastern states in the U.S. and eastern Canada. It attacks only conifers of all kinds, but seems to favor Scots Pine. Heavy infestations on pines can cause yellowing of the needles, but serious damage is rare. Eggs are deposited under the bark of twigs and branches in mid-summer and these overwinter. The eggs hatch in early spring and the nymphs then begin producing their foamy covers and feeding, often congregating in masses that leads to larger masses of the foam. Young nymphs tend to move around frequently but older nymphs often congregate on the trunk of the tree, creating foam masses there as well. Adults migrate back to the needles and feed without creating any foam coverings. There is a single generation each year.

Identification:

The most obvious identification is the presence of abundant foam masses on conifers. The adult insects are relatively large, averaging just over a half inch in length. They are a mottled reddish brown with yellowish spots on the wings, and the wings have a slightly flared shape at their sides, giving it a narrow diamond shape when viewed from above. When at rest the wings are held roof-like over the abdomen.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Topical sprays of contact insecticides can be effective, particularly if a surfactant is added that will help to break down the foam that covers the insect. A systemic insecticide used as a soil application may also be effective by moving the active ingredient into the foliage where it can be ingested by the feeding insect. Winter applications of dormant oils will help to smother and kill eggs on the bark.

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