Leafhopper ID
July 13, 2009
Lots of these on our Red Bud tree recently (July). Black body with red underside, red line and one yellow line across thorax; wings black with 2 yellow-orange stripes across them. Approx. 1 cm. length. Antennae inconspicuous.
Central IL

Two Lined Spittlebug

Two Lined Spittlebug

Dear Mary,
This is a Two Lined Spittlebug, Prosapia bicincta.  Spittlebugs are related to Leafhoppers and share many similarities since they are in the same suborder of Free Living Hemipterans, but they have their own family Cercopidae.  The immature Spittlebugs live in a mass of foam that resembles spittle.  BugGuide indicates that the damage done to plants is mild and states:  “In the immature (nymph) stage (surrounded by the ‘spittle’ foam which protects them, and which they produce from juices they suck from the plant) they feed on centipedegrass, bermudagrass and other grasses, including occasionally corn. Adults feed on hollies – they feed on the underside of leaves, and damage shows up as pale mottling not usually visible from above.

50 Responses to Two Lined Spittlebug

  1. Engstfeld says:

    These guys bite! I’ve been getting nibbled on by them in the evenings as I mow my lawn. Bite is similar to a horsefly, but only half as painful. Still not fun getting snacked on by them.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for providing your experience.

      • Mary Fay Videon says:

        One landed on my eyelid. As I was trying to remove it, it must have secreted something. My eye, eyelid and under eye area burn. There is also a smell. I used a wet, cool compress to flush my eye, but after several hours my eyelid and under eye area are very painful. It is not red or swollen. How long will this last?

    • Rhea harp says:

      I’m only 11. I was in my kitchen and I was getting some water when I saw that bug on top of the stove. I didn’t get a good glimpse because I immediately grabbed the raid and killed it. I absolutely hate bugs. I had no idea what it was. As I was killing it another one flew onto my leg and scared the heck out of me. I flicked it off and ran into my room. It didn’t bite me though. I’m not sure if it’s the same bug but i did get a glimpse. All I know is that it had a orange stripe and was black. There were so many in to kitchen. My grandfather was asleep when I went out there and he had the door wide open!! I think that’s the problem. But I had to look this up because I was freaked out. Any tips on how to get rid of them??

  2. metalmommaa says:

    These little guys have plagued my yard within the last week and fly inside every time my son opens the door (which seems like every 30 seconds)… I’ve been moving bugs outside nonstop.

    Southeast Georiga…

    • Daemon c says:

      Weird, i live in east cobb and we call them halloween bugs. Ive never had one bite me. I handle them all the time I guess I’m lucky haha

      • Evan says:

        I never got bit either!

        • MichaelLinn Beebe says:

          I have one in my room, right now, and he just bit me. Its isn’t an “HOLY Cow!!” type bite, just a “Ouch! You knarly littls sucker” and you swipe them off…
          I have a tear in the screen and they come in that way.

  3. maynardjamesspittlebug says:

    I just mowed the lawn and saw hundreds, if not thousands of these things fly up. Got stung, swatted a bunch away. How do I get rid of these things?

    • elizabethaye says:

      When you see the white foamy looking spit on your plans you can simply hose them away with water but for best result use a spray bottle with a little liquid detergent soap, it won’t harm your plants but will kill them.

  4. Kristina says:

    I have been seeing a lot of these bugs in my yard lately. Sometime the come in on my dog. They are very quick and are hard to get rid of. Are they harmfull to my dog? Will the bite him? I read in an earlier post that they do bite humans. When will they go away and what should I do to make them go away?

  5. Emma says:

    They attack me while I’m in my room at night, in the light they don’t attack, but at night they’re all over me

  6. Dakota says:

    I have one in my kitchen ): im scared. I saw it while helping my husband cook and found this website about this bug read outloud to my husband he tried attacking it with his shoe haha. But no. Made us wonder cause i woke up with two bites on the side of my face. And weve never seen that bug before. Ughh.. Creeppppyyyyyy !

  7. Mary134 says:

    Believe or not but I have an spittle bug infestation problem and it’s not in the garden, it’s on me !! These things are every there in my house on my pets , every where!! Has anyone heard of such a thing? And how do you get rid of them inside? And why suddenly are there thousands of them? Never seen or heard of them before.

  8. Caroline says:

    The two-lined spittle bug bites! Most people tell me they don’t. But these bugs seem to target me. If I see one, it will be on me right away. The bites itch and hurt for about 10 days. These bugs are a real problem if you become one of their targets.

  9. George Scott says:

    If you find unexplained bites on you, tear apart your bedding and look for those critters: I’ve known a BUNCH of people start getting bites, and found one of those in their bedding. Bites quite similar to bedbugs.

  10. josh luman says:

    Are they poisonous

  11. Lisa Clark says:

    I have never in my life been bitten by these, and I have been around them all my life. When I was a child I played with them routinely. They’re harmless. If you’re getting bitten in bed at night, I guarantee you these aren’t the culprit. They’re diurnal, only active during the day, and they only feed on plants, not blood. If they are getting on you or your pets, it’s only because you walked past them in the grass, and they happened to land on you when they jumped.

    Check your mattress and under it for bedbugs, or it’s also possible you have mosquitoes in the house.

    • Ashley says:

      Funny that you say this… I have had these things land on me thousands of time throughout my life and have never been bitten. (I live in middle Georgia.) But the reason I even found this site was because tonight, I was bit! I came inside from watering plants and didn’t even notice it was on me until I felt the sudden pain. Looked down and there it was. I was totally shocked but at the same time, I knew it was definitely the spittle bug that bit me.

    • Diel says:

      no. they bite. If I remember correctly it only hurt while I was being bitten.

    • Marshall says:

      They have only been biting for a few years now—man’s abuse of the eco-system has angered them

  12. WildernessWanderer says:

    I went canoeing with a couple friends. I needed the bathroom really bad so I jumped into some high grasses. When I was done doing my business I notices the grass all around me covered in foam. I washed one of these bugs out of my hair later on. I have a bite on my left butt cheek. It hurts and itches like crazy. I can’t even sit down. Is it the bite or do I have poison ivy?

  13. Aaron stone says:

    Is there an easy way to get rid of them

  14. Cat says:

    One of these little guys flew into my house tonight when I went out to water my plants. I tried to catch it and put it back outside, but they’re quick little boogers. How long do they usually live and do I need to worry about it laying eggs on or killing my house plants?

    • bugman says:

      We expect the life span of an adult Two Lined Spittlebug is about a month. If your nightmare scenario does occur, you can easily locate the nymphs by the spittle they produce on plants, but their host plants are various grasses. According to BugGuide: “In the immature (nymph) stage (surrounded by the ‘spittle’ foam which protects them, and which they produce from juices they suck from the plant) they feed on centipedegrass, bermudagrass and other grasses, including occasionally corn.”

  15. Mary Langdon says:

    My husband found one biting his leg, in our living room. We didn’t know what it was until we found it on this website.
    Do they go away in the cooler months?

  16. Mercedes says:

    Is it possible for an infant to have more a reaction to these bug then an adult? My 8 month old keeps getting bit by them and every time I take it off her she get red and swollen at the site.

  17. Margaret Williams says:

    Just wondering why they sre found I’m my bedroom…like maybe 1 a day, but saw 3 dead ones tonight. ..two on my bed. needless to say, I have stripped my bed and I’m going to wash everything that I can get in the washing machine. is it possible for them for them to be growing in my bedroom?

  18. Destiny says:

    I didn’t even know what these were until like five minutes ago and now I cannot stop feeling itchy. I never see more than one at a time in my room, but whenever I kill one, I find one more. And by find, I mean I hear it flying around hitting the windows. I live in South Georgia, but I am originally from Seattle, Washington. I also never see them during the day, always at night. I am wondering if that’s what all these bug bites on my body are from. What can I spray around my room/ house to get rid of them? Did I mention that I am TERRIFIED of bugs? HELLLLP!

  19. Bman8 says:

    So ….I will go ahead and add to this little discuss, i am a landscaper and when I’m mowing these things jump on me at a contant rate here in Georgia. I will say they do bite but only after being left to do so. I’ve had hundreds on my legs before. I just give them a swat usually works….or a flick for the pesky ones.

  20. Dixi says:

    Can lizards (green anodes) eat these spittlebugs?

  21. Mary says:

    I have been bitten by spittle bugs. And have an alergic reaction.

  22. Parker says:

    We have these is our yard. Our grass is cut to 1″ and we keep it free of debris, but they are every where. They flock to my dog and tear him up every time we go outside. He was breaking out in hives, and had hair falling out where ever they bit. He ended up being allergic to them. It was a HUGE vet bill.

    We just sprayed our yard with Cutter Backyard, so hopefully that takes care of it.

  23. Wesleyooo says:

    i am 7 and i captured a spittle bug today and i kept it as a pet.

  24. Carol says:

    I have an infestation of them in my centipede grass . Didn’t realize they do bite until this year. They itch and swell up on me at the spots where bitten.

    Live in upper NE Georgia. We’ve had an over abundance of rain this year and all the horrific bugs are thriving….fleas, ticks and these spittlebugs. Cats seem to be affected also…and nothing seems to work. Trying diatomaceous powder and those plug in detourent things. Trying to save the bees and other useful bugs.

  25. Gee Lahrie says:

    For anyone wondering about the potential for bites or disbelieve it…YES,THEY WILL BITE!!
    Pretty sure my bite happened only because I accidentally pinned the little [bleeeeeep] between my body and my underarm while closing the back door. Annnd of course the bug bit the. most. tender. area of an underarm.
    Omg! The bite pain was instantly
    an intense, searing pain- for 15 to 20 seconds- before fading as quickly as it began.
    Found a spittlebug at the back door- the only insect around.
    So yes, they bite.
    It can really HURT!!

    • Matt says:

      I got bit in the pool yesterday. Im allergic to everything so it was like a small bee sting. I was AMAZED!!! I have the bastard in a jar on the counter.

  26. CaspersMom says:

    Every time a take my dog out one of them hops on his fur and it’s hard to get off. Does anyone know if it’s harmful to dogs in anyway?

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