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Lygocoris pabulinus

Lygocoris pabulinus

© Alvesgaspar

Type: Pests


Capsid bug (Lygocoris pabulinus)

Despite giving plants a ragged appearance and, in severe cases, causing some die-back of leaves and deformation of fruit, this is rarely a serious disease. This is just as well as the bugs are often long gone by the time the damage is noticed, and they are quick-moving, dropping to the ground when disturbed - this makes control difficult. Adults are green and about 6mm long, with wings which make a distinctive diamond pattern when folded. The nymphs are wingless and paler in colour. Eggs hatch in April (2nd generation in early/midsummer). The nymphs feed on woody plants for a few weeks before moving on to surrounding herbaceous plants, pupating, emerging and laying more eggs on woody plants - it is as eggs that they overwinter. Like aphids, they suck the sap from the growing parts - shoot tips, buds, young leaves and flowers - of the plant. Unlike aphids, however, they inject a toxin which kills surrounding cells, leaving brown edges. As the leaves grow, these holes expand and tear.


Symptoms

  • Small holes in young, growing parts of the plant, particularly young leaves
  • As leaves expend, brown-edged holes which may tear
  • Flowers and fruit may be deformed

Prevention & control

  • Good crop hygiene, removing places to hide
  • Keep weeds under control to encourage the bugs to move away to find food later in the season
  • Encourage birds
  • Check for the tiny holes from April onwards, picking off any that are found
  • It is rarely a serious enough problem to require treating but, where damage is severe and persistent, insecticidal soap can be used when flowers first open and again when the fruit set.
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