common names: Spined Soldier Bug<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

scientific name: Order Heteroptera, family Pentatomidae, Podisus maculiventris

size: Adult--3/8" to 1/2" (about the size of stink bug but a little longer)

identification: Adults are pale brown to tan and shield-shaped with prominent spines on the shoulders. Eggs are metallic bronze and barrel-shaped. Nymphs are round and quite colorful.

biology and life cycle: Nymphs cluster at first and then disperse to feed. In the beginning they are red and black, then orange, white, and brown. Usually two to three generations a year. Females lay several hundred eggs in tight clusters of twenty to thirty on twigs and leaves.

habitat: Tomatoes, corn, beans, eggplant, cucurbits, asparagus, and onions.

feeding habits: Adults prey on hundreds of species, including corn borer, diamond-backed moth, corn earworm, armyworm, cabbage looper, imported cabbage worm, Colorado potato beetle, and Mexican bean beetle. This is a very beneficial insect.

economic importance: Control of several troublesome insects.

natural control: Birds.

organic control: None needed.

insight: A pheromone that attracts spined soldier bugs to your garden is available commercially.

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