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Minute pirate bug

Article author: John David Gonzales
Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter (2018)

Common Name(s): minute pirate bug, Pirate bug

Description

Adults are tiny (1/8 inch) black bugs with white markings at the base of the front wings (hemelytra), resulting in a band-like appearance across the body when wings are at rest. Wingless immature stages (nymphs) are orange. Insects in this family (Anthocoridae) are occasionally mistaken for chinch bugs (family Blissidae), particularly in the early nymphal stages.  

Origin and Distribution

Orius species are most common in the eastern United States, although they occur across the southwestern United States to Utah and southern California, then south into Mexico and Central and South America (Herring 1966). They also occur in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and many other islands of the West Indies (Herring 1966). There are at least eight species found in the United States. 

Habitat & Hosts

Nymphs and adults prey upon a wide variety of arthropods including aphids, chinch bugs, springtails, plant bugs, thrips, eggs and small larvae of corn earworms, whiteflies and spider mites. Sucking mouthparts are inserted into prey and body fluids are removed. When corn earworm eggs are plentiful, Orius sp. eat about one egg per day. They are important natural enemies of pests of many agronomic and horticultural crops including corn, cotton, sorghum, soybeans. They may also feed on tender plants. Anthocorids can be found on many kinds of plants, particularly agricultural crops, where they can be abundant. Some Orius species are sold commercially for augmentative biological control releases.

Orius species are capable of using their sucking mouthparts to bite humans. The insidious flower bug, O. insidiosus (Say), is often the more abundant species in east Texas.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in protected habitats such as in leaf litter. Female Orius sp. insert eggs into plant tissue. Nymphs develop through several stages (instars) before becoming winged adults. Development from egg to adult takes approximately 20 days, and there are several generations per year. 

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Orius species are considered to be beneficial; nymphs and adults prey on a number of small arthropod life stages. 

Related Publications

Orius species on Bugguide.

Citations

Marshall, S. A. (2006). True Bugs and Other Hemipteroids . In S. Marshall (Ed.), Insects Their Natural History and Diversity . United States : Firefly Books Ltd.

Herring JL. 1966. The genus Orius of the Western Hemisphere (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 59: 1093-1109.

University of California: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/NE/minute_pirate_bug.html

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Conchuela stink bug

Article author: Katelyn Kesheimer, Pat Porter, Suhas Vyavhare
Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter & Suhas Vyavhare (2018)

Common Name(s): conchuela stink bug

Pest Location

Row Crop

Description

The Conchuela stink bug is relatively large, with adults averaging up to 15 mm (0.6 inches) long. Adults are dark green to black with a distinctive red border and a red spot near the tip of their abdomen. These stink bugs tend to be green in the north and black in the south. The nymphs are similarly colored, but more rounded in appearance and lack wings.

Origin and Distribution

Conchuela stink bugs are widely distributed in North America in the United States and Canada.

Habitat & Hosts

In Texas, Conchuela stink bugs are often found feeding on mesquite in large groups in the spring and summer. Later in the season they can be found on sorghum until the grain becomes too hard for their mouthparts, and then they will move to cotton. The stink bugs feed on cotton bolls, which can introduce pathogens and/or reduce yield. Populations are usually restricted to the margins of fields, but when populations are high they will be found throughout the field.  

Other hosts include sage, yucca, mustards and prickly pear. They can also feed on tomatoes, grapes and peas.

Photo of Conchuela stink bugs on a sorghum panicle.

Conchuela stink bugs on a sorghum panicle. Photo: Pat Porter.

A note about cotton: Stink bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and damage cotton by piercing small to medium sized bolls and feeding on the developing seeds. Conchuela stink bugs are voracious feeders. It is common to find multiple adults or nymphs feeding on same boll. Stink bug infestations can result in substantial economic losses to growers in the form of yield reductions, loss of fiber quality, and costs associated with control.

Stink bugs prefer to feed on medium-sized bolls (approximately the diameter of a quarter), but are capable of feeding on bolls of any size. Stink bugs may feed on bolls 25 days of age and older. Hard upland cotton bolls or pima bolls in which the lint is near dry are relatively safe from yield loss. Their feeding on young bolls (fewer than 10 days of age) usually causes bolls to shed. In larger bolls, stink bug feeding often result in dark spots about 1/16-inch in diameter on the outside of bolls. These dark spots do not correlate well with the internal damage (callus growths/warts or stained lint). There may be several spots on a boll without internal feeding. Damage to the internal boll wall is a good indication that lint and seed are being affected. Excessive stink bug feeding on cotton results in reduced yield, stained lint, poor color grades, and reductions in physical fiber quality. In addition to direct damage, stink bug feeding can transmit plant pathogens that cause boll rot.

Life Cycle

Conchuela stink bugs overwinter as adults and emerge in the spring for feeding, mating, and egg laying. Females will lay eggs in clusters of about 50 eggs each, typically on the underside of leaves. They have incomplete metamorphosis with five nymphal instars, each lasting 5-7 days. There are several generations per year. 

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Home gardeners will find that the synthetic pyrethroid class of insecticides is effective on this pest.

Stink bug control is cotton can be found in Managing Cotton Insects in Texas. Insecticides include synthetic pyrethroids, Acephate and Dicrotophos (2018).

Management in sorghum is discussed in Managing Insect and Mite Pests of Texas Sorghum, which is under revision as of this writing.

Southern green stink bug


Most recently reviewed by: Tyler Mays (2018)

Common Name(s): Southern Green Stink Bug

Pest Location

Row Crop

Description

Adults are about 1/2 to 3/4-inch in length and are solid green. Immature stages vary in color from black for very small nymphs to green for larger nymphs. However, the immature stages have a distinctive pattern of whitish spots on the abdominal segments. Nymphal stages are often found together in high numbers because eggs are laid in clusters that appear as rows of small barrels on and around suitable food sources. Development from egg to adult requires about 35 days, but varies with temperature. Up to five generations per year may occur with greater numbers appearing in the fall before adults overwinter.

Habitat & Hosts

The southern green stink bug feeds on a wide variety of developing fruit, including cotton, peaches and tomatoes, and seeds such as pecan, sorghum and soybeans. They also feed on the parts of many ornamental and wild plants.

In fruit, such as tomatoes, damage is of two types. When the young green fruit is injured, the cells at the site of feeding are killed by the toxic saliva injected by the bugs into the plant. This area of the fruit stops expanding, while the cells around the dead cells continue to expand by increasing their water content. The result is deformed fruit that appears to have dimples. This type of damage has been called “cat facing.” When ripened or nearly ripened fruit is injured, the injection of toxic saliva merely kills a cluster of cells that later forms an off-color hard mass in the fruit, reducing fruit quality and producing a bad flavor to the fruit. Some plant diseases are spread by stink bug feeding.

Life Cycle

Simple metamorphosis adults deposit barrel-shaped eggs; immature stages develop through five stages or instars that appear similar to adults except that they do not have fully developed wings. Several generations can be produced each year.

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Leaf-footed bug

Article author: Bill Ree
Most recently reviewed by: Charles Allen (2018)

Common Name(s): Leaf-Footed Bug

Pest Location

Row Crop, Vegetable and Fruit

Description

Leaffooted bug is a common name given to insects in the family Coreidae. These insects can be identified by the expanded dilation of the tibia or lower portion of the leg. The dilations can be pronounced, Figure 1, or slight, Figure 2, depending on species. The majority of the species are dark colored and medium to large (5/8 to 1 + inch in length) in size with most being plant feeders, however, a few may be predaceous. As a group, leaffooted bugs have a wide host range that includes numerous fruits, vegetables, citrus, row crops, ornamentals and weeds. The adults are strong fliers and can move considerable distances to search for host plants.

 

Habitat & Hosts

Leaffooted bugs feed a wide range of host plants including: pecan, fruit, citrus, millet, vegetables and numerous weeds, Figures 6, 7, 8, 9.

Life Cycle

Leaffooted bugs have three life stages – egg, nymph and adult. Adults over winter, emerge during the spring where females lay eggs on host plants. Eggs are laid in chains, Figure 5 and there are 5 nymphal or instar stages. Early instars are reddish with black legs, Figure 4 and can be easily confused with the beneficial wheel bug nymphs, Figure 10, which have a red abdomen but a black thorax and head. The adult wheel bug, Figure 11 is often confused with adult leaffooted bugs. The wheel bug is a predacious insect and is considered beneficial.

Leaffoted bugs damage plants as both adult and the nymphal stages. All stages have piercing-sucking mouthparts that they use this to feed on plant juices from leaves, shoots, stems and fruit.

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

There are various management options, either alone or in combination that can be undertaken, depending on host plants and the area that needs to be protected. Various management options can include:

Cultural: Removing or managing early season weed host such as thistle and Gaura can help reduce populations in the immediate area, Figure 12

Physical: Depending on the crop, row covers, which physically exclude the insect can be effective, Figure 13.

Organic: There are several organic certified insecticides that can be used, however, residual control from these products will be limited and reapplications will have to be made.

Natural enemies: Various predators and parasites attack leaffooted bugs. Predators can include assassin bugs, spiders and predatory stinkbugs. A common parasite of leaffooted bug and stink bug adults and late instar nymphs is the feather legged fly Trichopoda pennipes, Figure 14.

Insecticides: The most effective insecticides are the pyrethroid based products. Some examples of pyrethroid active ingredients include: bifenthrin, lambda-cyhaolthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin and cyfluthin. Insecticides, including organic products work best against the nymphal stages so frequent scouting of host plants is recommended to detect early stages of an infestation. When using an insecticide read and follow label directions for safety precautions, rates and preharvest intervals.

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