Photo by Melody

Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus)

Order: Hemiptera (he-MIP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Miridae
Genus: Poecilocapsus
Species: lineatus (lin-ee-AY-tus) (Info)


No positives
1 neutral
10 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Deer, Arkansas
Brookfield, Illinois
La Grange, Illinois
Lombard, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois
Wilmette, Illinois
South China, Maine
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Newburyport, Massachusetts
Clinton Township, Michigan
Escanaba, Michigan
Holland, Michigan
Okemos, Michigan
Redford, Michigan
Vulcan, Michigan
Anoka, Minnesota
Chaska, Minnesota
Geneva, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
North Brunswick, New Jersey
Castleton On Hudson, New York
Clay, New York
East Amherst, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Red Hook, New York
Beachwood, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Monclova, Ohio
Ravenna, Ohio
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Prospect, Pennsylvania
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Russellton, Pennsylvania
Irving, Texas
Crozet, Virginia
Bruce, Wisconsin
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

By Paulwhwest
Thumbnail #1 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by Paulwhwest

By claypa

Thumbnail #2 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by claypa

By claypa

Thumbnail #3 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by claypa

By rosaliz

Thumbnail #4 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by rosaliz

By GrampaLidquist

Thumbnail #5 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by GrampaLidquist

By GrampaLidquist

Thumbnail #6 of Four-lined Plant Bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) by GrampaLidquist

Member Notes:

Negative Magpye On Aug 21, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Four-lined plant bugs damage many species of herbaceous and woody plants, causing immediate damage, which may be severe in areas where bug populations are dense.

Overwintered eggs, inserted into woody plant tissues, hatch in spring. Nymphs can develop on many species of plants. More than 250 species in 57 families have been reported as hosts, but the bugs seem to prefer certain species in the mint family (Labiatae), nightshade family (Solonaceae), and the aster family (Asteraceae).

The bugs can cause considerable damage to a number of cultivated plant species. In the herb garden, peppermint, spearmint, sage, marjoram, lavender, and hyssop are consistently damaged.

In the flower garden; ageratum, coreopsis, dahlia, chrysanthemum, shasta daisy, gaillardia, and wormwood are damaged.

In the vegetable garden; parsnips can be seriously damaged, and cucumbers, lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, and squash are also attacked.

The form of the feeding damage varies with leaf shape, texture, pubescence, and venation. Leaves usually are peppered with small, depressed, round or irregular spots that may become transparent. Plants show symptoms of feeding damage as soon as the bugs’ stylets enter their tissues. The tissues clear immediately, beginning at the point of penetration and radiating out to from a roughly circular spot about 2 mm in diameter.

There is one generation per year.

Negative alyrics On Jun 26, 2007, alyrics from Beachwood, OH wrote:

Four Lined Bugs are getting to be a bigger problem every year. They have all but decimated a large planting of perennial geranium by late June. They've eaten into mums, valerian, brunnera, salvias, even looks like they tried some sedums.

Negative Linda2836 On Dec 15, 2007, Linda2836 from Escanaba, MI wrote:

I never noticed this bug until about four years ago. The infestation is getting worse every year. I have the same problem with the plants listed, but they are also devouring my butterfly bushes. How can I control them? I try not to use chemicals, but these critters are quick!

Negative Kiffy On Aug 25, 2008, Kiffy from Geneva, MN wrote:

This bug seems new to my area (Minnesota). Have never seen in before this year, and boy did it destroy my spring perennial garden.
It seems like it will eat nearly anything. I've never resorted to insecticide before, but it was that or raze the entire garden this year.
How upsetting!

Negative lisacg On May 20, 2009, lisacg from Crozet, VA wrote:

These bugs have infested and destroyed chrysanthemums and mint as well as Chinese lanterns and anemones. I would really like advice on how to get rid of them because they seem to be getting thicker and hungrier each year.

Negative HiddenTreasures On Jun 3, 2009, HiddenTreasures from Monclova, OH wrote:

Oh this guy is a bad one! I could have written each post here. I have taken photos and they are just as found here. They need to be stopped any suggestions? Seven does not hinder them what so ever!

Neutral HappyGardenerWI On Jun 16, 2009, HappyGardenerWI from Eau Claire WI & The Villages FL, WI
(Zone 9a) wrote:

As the 1st line of defense, handpick the Four-lined Plant Bug whenever possible. (I rarely see it.)

When needed, use Rotenone, a plant-derived insecticide, which is harmless to warm-blooded animals, but kills all insects, and harms fish.

More info:

Negative hineskat On Jun 23, 2009, hineskat from Minneapolis, MN
(Zone 4a) wrote:

We just found out that this is the bug that is destroying our orregano and is now moving to our mint and God forbid - our basil! We're going to try neem oil first - I read that worked for someone else.

Negative GrampaLidquist On Jun 25, 2009, GrampaLidquist from La Grange, IL wrote:

Is it too late for "HELP"? This bug is everywhere on our property, perennial and vegetable garden. Leaves are curling and falling off by the minute and it's only June. (2009). Second question... anyone suspect this damage on their rose bush? I have a reference that says damage from Fourlined Plant bug can look like fungal damage if severe enough. 50% of Our Rose leaves are tissue paper thin, irregular big patchy brown and see-through as if all chlorophyll is gone. Set right next to cranesbill. ANY comments? I hesitate to post that photo until I know...

Negative Tberri On May 30, 2010, Tberri from
(Zone 3b) wrote:

Found them last night in one corner of the garden, have to pull all trimmed damaged foliage out of the compost pile!
Will ditomasious earth kill the larve?

Negative mary879 On May 16, 2011, mary879 from Clinton Township, MI wrote:

Have wreaked havoc on my perennials the past two seasons, but most plants seem to recover as the summer progresses. Nasty little things, quick and hard to catch. Hopefully this spring's cool weather will limit their numbers.

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