Ash Plant Bug

Tropidosteptes amoenus

Host

Green ash

Appearance and Life Cycle

Description of this image follows.
Ash plant bug nymph and damage.
Photo credit: Green Industry; University of Wisconsin-Extension

Description of this image follows.
Life cycle; Nymphs (red and black), adults (black with some silver; they are on the left side of the leaf) and injury to the leaves.
Photo credit: James Solomon, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, forestpests.org

In the prairies, the ash plant bug completes two generations during a growing season. The plant bug overwinters in the egg stage with nymphs first emerging in mid-May just as the ash leaves begin to unfold. The nymphs are small, oval shaped and vary from yellowish-green to dark brown. Adults measure 4 to 5 millimetres (mm) in length, 1.5 to 2.0 mm in width, and range from light green to black. First generation adults are found from early to late June while second generation adults are present and laying overwintering eggs from early August to late September.

Damage

The ash plant bug causes damage to the host by inserting its mouthparts into the leaf tissue and sucking out the plant sap. Damage by the plant bug is cumulative throughout the year, so that a light infestation in the spring may result in severe damage by the fall. Damage ranges from a yellow stippling on the upper leaf surfaces to wilted and deformed leaves, resulting in premature leaf drop, and reduced annual growth. This elusive insect is often difficult to find, but an indication of an infestation is the varnish-like black excrement spots which remain on the damaged leaves.

Control

During a severe infestation, the following insecticides may be used: carbaryl, deltamethrin, diazinon or dimethoate. Spraying should be done in mid May to early June and again in mid July to early August to control adults prior to the egg-laying period.

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