What type of bug is leaving an iridescent sappy substance on my flower stems?

A bug is attacking my flowers. It leaves an iridescent sappy substance on the flower stems, which at first glance looks like bubbly water droplets. What type of insect is this, and how can I get rid of it?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

You described the telltale signs of spittlebug-isn't that an attractive name! These petite insects nest in a mass of protective bubbles. In spring they feed on plants by sucking fluids from leaf and stem tissue, but seldom cause intense damage. If you see only a few of them in your garden, don't worry about controlling them. If you dislike the looks of the frothy foam, blast it off the stem with a forceful spray of water. A liberal dusting of diatomaceous earth, available at garden centers, can control a large infestation of spittlebugs. Protect perennials, trees, and shrubs with a dormant oil spray, also available at garden centers, in early spring before leaves unfurl. The spray will prevent spittlebug eggs from hatching.


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