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Tarnished Plant Bug

Tarnished plant bugs and their nymphs feed on the stems, leaves, blossoms and developing young fruits. As they feed, the bugs and nymphs release a toxin into plant tissues that stunts or otherwise deforms growth.

The tarnished plant bug is named for the adult bug’s coppery-brown color. Nymphs overwinter in weedy patches and decaying plant matter, and emerge in late spring to feed on young weeds and grasses before moving to favored crops. Adult bugs move very quickly and fly away when disturbed. There are several generations per year, and the bugs are found throughout North America.

Prevention and Control
  • Keep the garden area mowed and free of weeds.
  • Cover plants with garden fabric to protect them from egg-laying adults. Remove covers during blossoming to admit pollinating insects.
  • Encourage native predators, such as pirate bugs and bigeyed bugs.
  • Remove organic debris at the end of the growing season to give the pests fewer places to overwinter.

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