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Brochymena (Tree Stink Bug)
Scientific name: order heteroptera, family pentatomidae Acrosternum hilare Size: Adult--1/2" to 5/8"
Identification: Stink bug shaped, brown to mottled gray, dull and roughly pebbled. Long head with antennae are located far in front of the compound eyes. Long beak and toothlike projections on side of pronotum. Adult bugs are shield-shaped and brown, gray, or green. Some have brightly colored markings. Nymphs are similar, but smaller and wingless. Eggs are barrel-shaped.
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Biology and life cycle: Adults overwinter in debris or weeds and emerge in the spring to lay 300 to 500 eggs in clusters on undersides of leaves. Eggs hatch in about a week, and nymphs develop into adults in five weeks. Usually two or more generations a year. Adult female lays clusters of pearl-white eggs on twigs, branches, and leaves in the spring. Nymphs hatch and grow slowly into adults that overwinter in mulch, cracks, and crevices. Habitat: Fruit tree orchards, forests, and landscape trees. Beans, peas, cabbage, corn, okra, squash, tomatoes, peach, cotton, soybeans, alfalfa, peaches, citrus, ornamental plants, forage crops, and weeds.
Feeding habits: Adults and nymphs suck juice from flowers, fruit, seed and leaves. Leaves wilt, turn brown, or have discolored spots. Fruit is scarred and sometimes "cat-faced." Pods sometimes drop, and seed can be deformed. Although most are sapsuckers, several species suck the blood of caterpillars, beetles, and other pests. Like to eat juicy caterpillars and other soft insects. Economic importance: Beneficial. Control troublesome caterpillars and other insect pests.
Insight: Extremely well-camouflaged insects that blend in with tree bark. First notice of these bugs leads most people to think it"s a pest stink bug.Economic importance: Cosmetic and sometimes serious damage to food crops and ornamental plants.
Natural control: Parasitic wasps and tachinid flies.
Organic control: Hand-pick the bugs and crush the eggs; spray organic pesticides as a last resort. Use plant oil sprays for heavy infestations.
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Insight: All Hemiptera insects have stink glands. The spined soldier bug Podisus maculiventris is an important natural enemy of the Mexican bean beetle. .