On Crops: Most vegetables including potatoes, beans, numerous flowers and herbs, and most fruits
Most of UK and Europe
There are many species of capsid bugs, but only a few are plant pests. They resemble giant, fast-moving aphids but unlike aphids, they don’t infest plants in colonies. Capsid bugs grow to 6mm long and have green bodies, long legs and long visible antennae. Their large eyes give them good vision. Capsid bugs quickly jump or fly away when disturbed.
Capsid bug feeding sites will appear as rows of small ragged holes in the foliage on numerous plant species. Capsid bugs are sap-sucking insects that prefer to feed on the new growth of plants. The damage they cause with their mouthparts causes leaf tissues to die. The damage becomes more visible as the leaves grow larger. Similar injuries result when capsid bugs feed on fruits.
Capsid bugs overwinter in twiggy debris beneath shrubs and hedges, so it is important to clean up and compost this debris in autumn if these insects are a problem in your area. Removing weeds from growing areas will also help to reduce capsid bug numbers.
A hand-held vacuum is a good tool for gathering capsid bugs from plants but be careful not to damage the delicate new leaf growth. Pyrethrum is the only organic pesticide that can be used to kill capsid bugs, but it will also kill beneficial insects so should only be used as a last resort. Pyrethrum-based products are available from garden product suppliers and the instructions on the labels need to be followed correctly.
Inspect the new growing tips for early damage and also for the presence of capsid bugs. A single bug can cause significant damage to a plant. Capsids are often a sporadic pest that can become a serious problem to certain plants in some years and not in others.