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Tarnished Plant bug

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Tarnished Plant bug

Tarnished Plant bug

Tarnished Plant bug

Tarnished Plant bug is a small, flattened bug, about 6 mm (1/4 inch) long, generally brown in color, and mottled with splotches of white, yellow, reddish-brown and black.

Tarnished plant bugs develop through five nymphal stages. The nymphs are very small and greenish-yellow, marked dorsally with four black dots on the thorax and one on the abdomen. Like the adults, the nymphs have piercing-sucking mouth parts and feed on plant tissues. The wings of the adults have a hard wing cover similar to that of a beetle with a smoky-brown membranous tip. The adults will fly readily when disturbed.

Tarnished Plant bug

Tarnished Plant bug

The adult bugs hibernation under leaf mold, stones and tree bark, among the leaves of such plants as clover, alfalfa and mullein, and in many other protected places. They become active very early in spring, when they attack the buds of fruit trees, seriously injuring the terminal shoots and fruits. They do not appear to lay their eggs on these plants to any great extent, but rather migrate to various herbaceous weeds, vegetables and flowers, where the eggs are either inserted full length into the stems, petioles or midribs of leaves or into buds, or are tucked in among the florets of the flower heads.

The tarnished plant bug causes injury to tree fruits when it feeds and lays eggs. Damage occurs primarily in the spring on flower buds, blossoms, and young fruit, although bleeding of sap may result from twig and shoot injury.

Damage to mature trees is slight after June, but much damage can occur to nursery stock throughout the summer. In peach trees, the tarnished plant bug puncture's the tips of tender growing shoots, causing the leaves to wilt beyond the point of damage and resulting in trees with a dwarfed and bushy appearance. Damage to peach fruit can occur throughout the summer. Nursery apple trees damaged by the tarnished plant bug have curled leaves and stunted growth.

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