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Home > Bugs > Bugs of Fruit > Tarnished Plant Bug

Tarnished Plant Bug—Lygus lineolaris

The tarnished plant bug is a true bug (order Hemiptera), with piercing-sucking mouthparts. It is found throughout North America, but it is primarily a pest in temperate nondesert areas. It feeds on more than fifty economically important plants, including alfalfa, cotton, strawberries, brambles, and most tree fruits grown in the United States. It has two to five generations per year, depending on the location.

tarnished plant bug on flower close-up of tarnished plant bug adult tarnisehd plant bug life stages
Adults are about ¼ inch long, oval and flattened, greenish-brown in color with reddish brown markings on the wings. A distinguishing characteristic is a small but distinct yellow-tipped triangle in the center of the back, behind the head. Adults feed throughout the summer. Young nymphs are tiny and light green in color. Older nymphs are larger, with noticeable black dots on their back, and well-developed wing pads. Young tarnished plant bug nymphs can easily be confused with aphids.

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[Photos, left to right: Lacy L. Hyche, Auburn University,; Russ Ottens, University of Georgia,; University of Georgia Archive, University of Georgia,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.