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Picture of the Week
for 5 June 2000



Yucca Bug

Cliff Sadof, Entomologist

The following article will appear in the next issue of Down the Garden Path (#165).

Bugged by spotted or distorted leaves, dying flowers, distorted fruits and vegetables? Well you just may be bugged by true plant bugs. Plant bugs have been causing quite a few problems throughout Indiana landscapes. When plant bugs feed they juices from expanding young leaves or flower bud, they can kill portions of actively growing tissue and distort leaves, flowers and fruit. On expanded leaves plant bugs remove the green chlorophyll from leaves, leaving them to appear stippled with white spots when the plant bug has removed sap from green leaf tissue that contains chlorophyll. Some species kill portions of leaf tissue as they feed and leave behind circular areas of brown dead spots. The liquid excrement of most plant bugs is deposited as a black tar spot that is diagnostic for many pest species.

Although many natural enemies of plant bugs are known, their use has not been explored for controlling this pest on deciduous trees. Pesticide applications should target nymphs because eggs are not affected. Determine this stage by looking for spiny nymphs near egg masses on leaf undersides and monitoring to determine egg hatch. Short residual materials, like soaps, oils, or pyrethrins, can be effective on nymphs if coverage is adequate. Systemic pesticides such as Orthene (Acephate) or Merit (imidacloprid) are also very effective. Topical foliar applied materials can also provide effective control.


Yucca bug image courtesy of Charles Felkner
Some common plant bugs:
PLANT DISTORTERS            PART ATTACKED         HOST               KEY ID FEATURE

Honey locust plant bug      leaves                honeylocust        lime green 

Tarnished plant bug         flowers & fruit       fruit trees,       brownish
                                                    lilac,
                                                    many others

Potato leaf hopper          leaves                red maples,        lime green
                                                  many others	

PRODUCERS OF BROWN SPOTS    PART ATTACKED         HOST               KEY ID FEATURE

Four-lined plant bug        Leaves                Many perennials,   Yellow & black
                                                  shrubs             stripes

PRODUCERS OF                PART ATTACKED         HOST               KEY ID FEATURE
WHITE STIPPLES	 		

Yucca bug                   Leaves                Yuccas             Orange & brown
                                                  (Adam's Needle,
                                                  etc.)
						
Eastern ash plant bugs      Leaves                Ash                Amber color

Lace bugs                   Leaves                Many species       Lacey wings

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Last updated: 3 July 2000/tlm.