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Capsid Bugs - How to control and kill this garden pest.

Capsid Bug Damage

Typically, the Capsid Bug attacks young shoots of plants, leaving the growing tip distorted and normally full of small holes. Further damage is caused by the fact that as the Capsid Bug sucks the sap, it also leaves a toxin behind.

The generic name of Capsid Bug covers a number of different species, but all have the same characteristics as far as the gardener is concerned. They are small beetle-like insects, with long jointed legs and very visible feelers or antennae.

Flowers are often affected, with resulting flowers being peppered with small holes or with damage to the edges of flowers from emerging flower buds.

It is more likely that you will notice the damage caused by the insect - rather than the Capsid Bug insect itself. They normally attack in single or small numbers, rather than the typical greenfly onslaught.

Lime green capsid bug contrasting well with light purple vetch flowerCapsid bugs are not too particular in which plant they feed on and affects, and their host cover bedding plants and other flowers, perennials, and many shrubby plants also.

 Flowers which are often affected include Dahlias, Chrysanthemums, fuchsias and roses, though more or less any bloom can be subjected to this annoying pest.

Capsid Bug damage on flowers will be noticed by imperfect flowers emerging from their buds. Damaged flowers normally look a bit frayed at the edges.

Vegetables are also susceptible to Capsid Bug damage – especially those with showy flowers – beans, peas and potatoes..

Apple Capsid Bugs - which also attack pears - can also cause damage to the fruit as well as the flowers. The fruit may have patches of brown corky skin which crack as the fruit develops. Again, the damage is normally done before you notice the cause. The damage is rarely serious – simply annoying.

Control of Capsid Bugs

Image shows a Lime green Capsid bug contrasting well with light purple vetch.

In the case of Fruit trees, the damage can be prevented by spraying the tree as soon as the petals have dropped - using a spray containing Fenitrothion, Permethrin, Heptenophos or Dimethoate.

If Capsid Bug is a normal or persistent problem, then spraying should be carried out as a matter of routine on new buds of flowers or fruit. Normally, by the time you notice the damage caused, the bug will have found another host/feed further away.

Other signs of damage will be shot holes in leaves. Most of the damage and activity happens in the mid summer months from May through until August.

Garden tidiness will do much to negate the problems of Capsid bugs, and many other pests. Capsid bugs live over winter in ground debris, which should be cleared as a general matter of garden hygiene. They also feed on a wide range of weeds, so proper weed control will lessen the natural feeding grounds of the bugs.

Fruit attacked Apples, Pears, Gooseberries, Strawberries, Blackcurrants, Raspberries etc.


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