Thursday, January 8, 2015

European plant bug

Although Dicyphus errans lacks a common name, we have dubbed this interesting critter the European plant bug! As its name suggests, the bug is native to Europe and, since 2000, this species has been mass-reared and released in agricultural areas in Europe to control various pests, particularly flies and scale insects. A closely related species, Dicyphus hesperus, is similarly used to control whiteflies in North America. However, these species are not ideal for controlling pests because they are what is called generalist omnivore, which means they consume both small arthropods as well as plants. That also means once they've done their job of eating a pest species they start damaging the same crops that they were intended to protect along with neighboring plants. 

This species was recorded for the first time in North America in 2013 at a public school in Listowel, Ontario. The school participated at our School Malaise Trap Program and a few bugs of this European species occurred in their catch.

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