DAMAGE: (Picture is of a Brugmansia Leaf)
There is a wide range of hosts for this pest including: cucurbits, potatoes, alfalfa, flowers, herbs, and many more fruits and vegetables. Feeding by the four-lined plant bug is usually not detrimental to plants. Smaller plants are more susceptible while 50% of a larger plant's foliage needs to be damaged in order to affect root growth.
With piercing-sucking mouthparts, the four-lined plant bug removes the plant's chlorophyll leaving a window of upper and lower epidermis. A toxin present in their saliva is also secreted during feeding that digests the components responsible for holding the plant cells together. This feeding produces white, dark, or translucent spots 1/16 to 1/8 in. in diameter on the plant's leaves, which can merge together (if there is substantial damage) forming large blotches. Entire leaves can turn brown, curl up and eventually fall off. If feeding occurs on new growth, wilting may result.
The spot damage inflicted by four-lined plant bugs may be misidentified as fungal disease spots because of their comparable appearances. The agility of this bug contributes to this misidentification because when disturbed, the four-lined plant bug will drop to the ground or will hide and is therefore rarely seen. In addition, when the damaged portion of the leaf fall out, a shot hole will remain that looks similar to fungal disease.
The four-lined plant bug, Poecilocapus lineatus which is easily identified by the four black strips running down its back, has a wide range of hosts including: fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, and cucurbits. The associated damage consists of spots that look similar to fungal disease spot and can be misidentified as such. Damage is inflicted by the bug's piercing-sucking mouthparts and is usually not severe enough to cause plant death.
The four-lined plant bug nymphs are a bright red to orange color with black dots on the abdomen. Later instars have black wing pads running ½ way down the abdomen with a yellow strip on each wing pad; they do not have actual wings however. Adults are usually a greenish-yellow color with four black strips running longitudinally down the wings. The head, antenna, and body are all black in color while the legs are yellow-green with black marks. Both nymphs and adults have piercing-sucking mouthparts.