Lygus spp.


Damage by the green capsid bug Lygus pabulinuszoom...
Damage by the green capsid bug Lygus pabulinus
Adult tarnished plant bug, Lygus pratensiszoom...
Adult tarnished plant bug, Lygus pratensis
Adult bishop bug, Lygus rugulipenniszoom...
Adult bishop bug, Lygus rugulipennis
Eggs of the tarnished plant bug, Lygus pratensiszoom...
Eggs of the tarnished plant bug, Lygus pratensis

Scientific Name

Lygus spp. (Hahn 1833)

Common Names

English: Tarnished plant bugs; German: Weichwanzen; Spanish: Chinche ligus; French: Punaise terne



The adults are typical bugs with a flat body about 6 mm (0.24 inch) long; their color varies from green to brown. The legs and antennae are comparatively long. The young nymphs are green.


All instars feed by sucking on buds, bolls, young stalks and leaves. More important than the physical damage by their piercing-sucking mouthparts is the toxic saliva they inject during punctures, which causes the plant tissue to perish. Numerous small lesions in form of small blackish-brown spots can be found, appearing first on young infested leaves. As the leaves continue to grow, they tear at these points, and gradually develop the typical symptoms, commonly referred to as "frisolée". In cases of severe infestation, internodes are elongated, and the plants shoot up.


The adult plant bugs overwinter under fallen leaves and other plant debris. In spring they emerge, feed on weeds and lay their eggs with their ovipositor into stalks and buds, which does not damage the tissue. After 8-10 days, the larvae hatch. Their development lasts 2-3 weeks. Lygus bugs are hemimetabolous like all Hemiptera. The 5 instars of nymphs are wingless, the adults, however, can fly very well.
In early summer, the first generation of adults appears and disperses into adjacent crops. Here, one or two further generations will develop, depending on the prevailing climatic conditions. When the host plant they have recently been feeding on becomes unavailable, Lygus spp. will migrate readily into other crops, causing a rapid population increase there.



Additional Crop Information

Important hosts include cotton, alfalfa, beans, stone fruits, potato, canola, sunflower, strawberry, wheat, lettuce and many others.

Agricultural Importance

Lygus bugs are found in most climates, from the subtropical-arid (e.g. Mexico) to cold-temperate regions, like e.g. Alaska. The genus is nearly omnivorous.Lygus populations can build up over time and cause severe economical damage.


Integrated Crop Management

As Lygus sp. can easily change hosts according to their availability, management should be coordinated regionally wherever possible.

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