The species Philaenus spumarius is commonly known as the meadow spittle bug. It is a species that is a pest to many varieties of crops in Canada, ranging from mustard seeds to vegetable crops. When infestations of a high level occur, spittle bugs can stunt plant growth by sucking the sap, resulting in anywhere from a slight yield loss to 25 percent yield loss.
The adult P. spumarius are wedge-shaped and approximately 1 cm long. They are often brown in colour, though some may be blacker. The eggs are small, white to yellowish in colour and are found in rows. The nymphs cause the majority of damage and can often be found under the leaf surface. The adults and nymphs can be found on a variety of plants; however, they can be more abundantly found on alfalfa and clover field crops.
When scouting meadow spittle bug, it is necessary to know that an average of only 1 nymph per stem can significantly decrease the yield of dry hay by 300 or more pounds per acre. To determine the need for treatment, count the spittlebugs on 50 to 100 stems randomly selected throughout the field.