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Bug of the Month March 2017


Rice Leaf bug – Trigonotylus coelestialium

Green Grass bug photo by Jennifer Otani

Widespread across North America, the rice leaf bug is present in the Canadian prairies.  Adults are narrow bodied, long, and mainly green.  Some have green legs with red hind feet, and red antennae.  Eggs overwinter in grasses in or near cereal crops.  Adults inhabit new cereal crops, such as oats, barley, rye, and wheat, and lay eggs.  Both nymphs and adults feed on plant tissue by sucking and piercing.  The result is a decrease in plant quality and growth.  Signs of crop injury can include browning of seedling tips, fecal spotting on leaves, stunted seedling growth, and feeding damage to head and stems.

This pest can be one of the culprits of the condition known as silvertop in seed grasses.  To monitor populations of rice leaf bugs, sweep grasses surrounding newly emerging cereal crops.  One management strategy to avoid the rice leaf bug becoming a pest is to rotate cereals with a broad leaf crop.  Natural enemies like the wolf spider in the photo can eat them and may help to keep them at low levels. 

Wolf spider devouring a rice bug by D. Pittman