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
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.

close-up of tarnished plant bug adult

tarnisehd plant bug life stages
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.

Click on images to view full-size

Identification and Control Information

More Information

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