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Tarnished Plant Bug Facts

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The tarnished plant bug, with the scientific name Lygus lineolaris, is a plant-feeding insect of the Miridae family and Lygus genus. It uses its piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on vegetables and small fruit across North America, making it a dangerous pest. It feeds on half of the crop plants that are grown commercially and also eats conifer seedlings, stone fruits, beans, alfalfa, strawberry fruit, and cotton buds. So, many places have adapted to plant bug management and control to save their crops, fruits, and plants.

One study conducted on the Lygug bug, present in a commercial vineyard in Canada's southwest Quebec, showed that weeds growing out of the cultivation of crops are also the main food source for this bug. The breeding and feeding site of this bug extends through North America from southern Mexico to northern Canada. The adult species of Lyus bug has red, yellow, or orange on its brown body. These species are tiny oval-shaped insects. Lygus bugs are also popular for puncturing plant tissues to suck out the sap. The species in tarnished plant bug family, Miridae.

Tarnished Plant Bug Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tarnished plant bug?

The tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) is an insect that feeds on plants. The plant bug has a wide host range. Both adults and young nymphs (immature stage) are season-long pests in strawberry fruit production and are the cause of poorly-developed fruit. Tarnished plant bug bite not only damages plants but also spreads fire blight disease in shrubs and trees.

What class of animal does a tarnished plant bug belong to?

The tarnished plant bug belongs to the class Insecta.

How many tarnished plant bugs are there in the world?

The exact number of tarnished plant bugs in the world is currently unknown. This species, both young and adult, is not under any threat.

Where does a tarnished plant bug live?

Tarnished plant bugs (TPB) live in the east part of North America. The range of habitat extends from northern Canada to southern Mexico.

What is a tarnished plant bug's habitat?

Nymphs and adults are found in cropping areas, wild host plants, and disturbed or wet regions. Tarnished plant bugs overwinter in the debris of plants like tree bark, leaf litter, and dead weeds. They have no particular preference for hosts, however, one conservation showed these bugs returning to the same hosts. They can be found on pear, peach, strawberry fruit, asparagus, beet, Swiss chard, carrot, beans, cucumber, Asian greens, turnip, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplants, alfalfa, tomato, potato, celery, and lettuce.

Who do tarnished plant bugs live with?

Tarnished plant bugs (TPB) live in groups and forage together after the breeding season.

How long does a tarnished plant bug live?

 Tarnished plant bugs live for up to three or four weeks.

How do they reproduce?

Tarnished plant bugs overwinter (both adults and nymphs) through the cold season in regions with weeds and become active as soon as the weather gets warm around spring. The adults will look for a suitable plant host to feed on and region to lay eggs in early May. To lay eggs, these bugs prefer plants that are yet to flower or in the flowering process, which is a huge problem for strawberry crops. Tarnished plant bugs lay their eggs in leaf veins, young and soft stem tissue, cotton buds, and within plant tissue.

Eggs hatch in about five to seven days. The infant tarnished plant bugs go through five nymphal stages. It takes a minimum of 12 days at 94 F (34 C) for the tarnished plant bug nymphs to go through each stage and a maximum of 40 days at 50 F (10.5 C). Similar to all bugs, the stages of the lifecycle for these species are eggs, nymphs, and then adults. The development of nymphs occurs around June. Emerging adults will start laying eggs in four to eight days. Adults will lay around one to three eggs in one day and 30-120 in one life span. They produce about two to three generations per year.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of a tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) is not yet available. These bugs face no threat except crop management and insecticides.

Tarnished Plant Bug Fun Facts

What do tarnished plant bugs look like?

Tarnished plant bugs are confused with beneficial bugs and big-eyed insects. So, make sure to look for yellow triangle markings running through the margins of their wings and a V-shaped yellow marking situated behind the head. They will be found in alfalfa fields or along fence lines. Adults have brown bodies and wings with red, orange, or yellow accents. Adults and nymphs contain piercing-sucking mouthparts.

As tarnished plant bug prefers feeds on weeds, preventing the formation of young buds and flowers in such regions will keep the bug's population in control.

How cute are they?

This lygus bug is not considered to be cute by many people. In fact, this bug is a pest around many crop fields as it causes damage to plants, fruits, flowers, or anything it feeds on. This pest has the potential to damage many crops.

How do they communicate?

Research has been conducted on the perception of odor in these bugs. It involved a transcriptomic investigation of the bug's olfaction to decrease its impact on crops. It showed that the bug had 15 Lylin odor-binding proteins in the proboscis, 12 in the legs, and 21 in the antennae. It also proved that these structures played a great role in the taste and olfaction of an insect. This would allow the bug's antennae to identify various substrates.

Another study was conducted to identify if adults could recognize different colors. Pink and white sticky traps were used as a previous study showed that pink is the most stimulating color and tarnished plant bug was more attracted to pink than white sticky traps. This study proved that this plant-feeding bug can distinguish color and even identify contrast.

How big is a tarnished plant bug?

The tarnished plant bug is 0.25 in (6.5 mm) in length.

How fast can tarnished plant bugs move?

The exact flying speed of the tarnished plant bug is not known.

How much does a tarnished plant bug weigh?

The weight of the tarnished plant bug is not known.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to adult males or females.

What would you call a baby tarnished plant bug?

A young or infant bug is referred to as a tarnished plant bug nymph.

What do they eat?

This plant-feeding bug has a wide feeding site and hosts plants. This bug uses its piercing-sucking mouthparts to inject its saliva within the host plant. It feeds on weeds and young apples. Weeds are an important feeding source for this bug. The saliva of this bug has the polygalacturonase enzyme that can degrade the pectin and plant tissue in the cell wall of the plant and aid the bug with faster digestion.

This plant bug feeds on green leaves, flowers, alfalfa, strawberry, vegetable, and fruit crops. Nymphs and adults suck out the juices from fruits, flowers, and leaves, which distorts fruits and wilt in shoots. Nymphs and adults can leave black spots on fruits and catface tomatoes when they feed on them, They can turn lettuce leaves yellow, leaving necrotic posts. They cause discoloration in strawberry fruits. They feed on the flower buds of eggplant and pepper plants, which drop off.

Is the tarnished plant bug harmful?

Yes, tarnished plant bugs can be harmful to crops and other human food sources. These species of tarnished plant bug damage apples, flowers, buds, and any other crop they feed on. It is necessary to employ proper tarnished plant bug management and control across crop production. Introducing a parasitic wasp population in an area infested by these bugs will keep their population in control. Management of a garden area and getting rid of the bug at the tarnished plant bug nymph stage before they become active will also help control these pests.

Would they make good pets?

This Lygus bug would not make a great pet as it is a harmful pest.

Did you know...

You can use capture methods or control methods like physical and biological control, herbicides, and insecticides.

The Lygus genus has 40 plant-feeding insect species. However, there were previously around 200 insects in this genus, which have now been reclassified.

How did the tarnished plant bug get its name?

As this bug can destroy several crops and plants, it was named the tarnished plant bug.

What's the difference between a tarnished plant bug and a beetle?

Beetles are larger insects than tarnished plant bugs. Tarnished plant bugs belong to the Hemiptera order, while beetles belong to the order Coleoptera.

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