Tarnished plant bug

Insect

Tarnished plant bug

Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois)

Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae

Distribution: Widespread in most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.


The adult is brown and the extremities of its wings are translucent with a cream-colored scutellum (triangular plate) on its back (A). The nymph is pale green; from the 3rd nymphal stage, it has five black points on the back (B). Usually abandons fruit trees for alternate hosts soon after bloom.

  • Crops Affected: Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, Plums

    Damage

    Attacks most deciduous tree fruits. Prebloom stings on woody tissue or the floral peduncle leave a droplet of sap and often cause the abortion of flower buds. Stings at the base of the floral receptacle or on the fruit result in funnel-like depressions (C); fruit feeding in stone fruits can cause corky scars (D) or catfacing injury.

    Management

    Watch for presence of adults on buds. In apple, can monitor with sticky white board traps; if necessary, apply broad-spectrum insecticides during the pre-bloom period. Elimination of alternate host broadleaf weeds in the orchard can contribute to management efforts, especially legumes, mullein, chickweed and dandelion, as well as pigweed, lambsquarters, plantain, goldenrod and aster.

    Similar Species

    The pear plant bug (L. communis) can be present on the trees all season long; it can be distinguished by differences in body coloration.