Tarnished plant bugs and their nymphs’ feeds on the leaves, stem, developing young fruits and blossoms flowers. When these insects feed, the bugs and nymphs release a toxin into the plant tissues that deform or otherwise stunt the plants’ growth.
The tarnished plant bugs leave black spots on stems, buds, leaves, and fruits; so you will be able to tell if you have this insect in your garden through these symptoms. They spread fire blight disease to shrubs and trees.
The insects are named for the adult bug’s coppery-brown color with yellow, reddish, bronze marks, and each forewing is black-tipped with a yellow triangle. The adult bugs are oval in shape and small in size, just ¼ inch big.
Furthermore, their eggs are yellow, long and curved. The eggs are usually inserted into plant’s growth tips and leaves, eggs are hatched in 5-7 days then nymphs feed for 3-4 weeks before molting to adulthood. The insects overwinter as adults or nymphs in shrubs, garden debris, and weeds.
During early spring, they feed on budding plants and seeding. The tarnished plant bugs are up to five generations each year, and they are found throughout Canada and the United States. Tarnished plant bugs target several specific plants, and they are; lettuce, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Asian greens, turnips, carrots, cucumbers, beans, Swiss chard, strawberries, pears, beets asparagus and peaches. Here are few tips if you have tarnished bug trouble.
How to control tarnished plant bugs
- Remove tarnished plant bugs by covering plants with spun poly floating row covers.
- Spray serious infested plants with pyrethrin or dust with sabadilla as a last resort.
- Put white sticky traps around the garden at about 2ft above the ground; this will attract the tarnished plant bugs.
You can prevent tarnished plant bugs by applying this seasonal control:
- Before you plant: plant pollen producing plants all over your garden to attract tarnished plant bugs predators like damsel bugs, big-eyed bugs, and pirate bugs. Put a white sticky trap around the garden to trap bugs; hang the traps two feet above the ground; you need a hand lens to be able to see tarnished plant bugs; you can check daily to make sure you are catching these beneficial insects. Try to remove weeds that tarnished bugs feeds on, like chickweed, smartweed, dandelion, lamb’s quarters, curly dock, wild mustard, and pigweed.
- Planting time: place spun poly row covers over your plants to keep tarnished bugs out; lay row covers directly on the plants or on supports to form tunnels; make sure you seal the edges at the ground level with the soil. Before bugs become active, spray plants with kaolin clay; this will deter pests from landing and laying their eggs and feeding.
- While your crops develop: use garlic spray to prevent bugs from feeding and laying eggs. Dust plants with sabadilla early in the morning. Protect your plants with floating row covers. Use pyrethrum or rotenone whichever you have to spray or dust every three to four days to control bugs; this unlikely curtail heavy infestations.
- After your harvest: remove spent plants and plant debris from the garden. The adult tarnished bugs overwinter in plant debris, weeds, and cracks in tree bark. Also, if you think “it is good practice to call an exterminator near me” you are right. Professional pest operators will give you the best advice and solution to your garden pest problems.