|Negative ||htop ||On Dec 29, 2006, htop from San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b) wrote:
I searched for months and months attempting to ID this bug thinking it was a beetle which it resembles. This black, broad, oval and short true bug is up to 1/10 inch long and has an enlarged hard thoracic shield that makes it look like a tiny beetle. It usually has a paler margin along the pronotum and scutellum.
It overwinters in the soil and nymphs can be black or reddish in color. Emerging in March through late April, it voraciously feeds on various plants including grasses, weeds, berries and flowers causing injury. The main damage is done to flower buds and flower parts. I have found the following plants listed in the literature as host plants for this bug:
Solidago missouriensis flowerheads, Baccharis neglecta, Cirsium arvense, Geranium maculatum, Ceanothus americanus, Galium verum, Linaria vulgaris, Veronica peregrina, lobelia, canola, Texas betony, blackberry, boysenberry, celery, corn, sweet dewberry, gooseberry, loganberry, raspberry, strawberry and tomato.
Last spring my flowering plants were ruined by these bugs. I had never encountered them before. I believe that they came to visit on large snapdragon plants I had purchased. To my dismay, the snapdragon blooms were totally destroyed as seen in the posted photo . The critters moved on to attack the bloom buds and blooms of the following plants in my yard (the list would be longer if I remembered all of the plants that were blooming at the time):
petunia, hibiscus, rose, zinnia, verbena, rock rosemallow, shrub allamanda, lantana, salvia, larspur and many other blooming plants.
My spring garden went from having people stop to tell me how beautiful it was to having not many annuals left and no blooms on my other plants. I usually do not use chemicals on plant pests; but, I had to try everything I could think of to wage my month or more war (on probably 1000s of these bugs. Everyday - mornings, evenings and inbetween - the battles raged). Nothing really lowered the numbers significantly.except some oil-based pesticides killed some of them. It also injured my plants when temperatures began to soar. Squashing them between my fingers worked; however, this was useless due to the tremendous numbers of them.
Finally, I placed a plastic bag over the annual plants, cut them off at the base and then tied the bag so the bugs could not escape. I had to keep spraying them with an oil based pesticide to slow them down so that they could not escape the bags before I tied them. They are able to fly for a very short distance. Then, I put the bags in ia metal trashcan, doused the bags with gasoline and burned the bags. Kinda drastic and not environmentally friendly, I know. I similarly cut all of the bloom buds from my other plants, dropped them into plastic bags and burned the bags. I have found no remedy for them in my research so far.
I pray that they did not overwinter in the soil in my yard; but, I have a feeling that they will emerge in the spring because I did not kill all of them. I do want to have some blooming plants in the spring.