SPINED SOLDIER BUG
common names: Spined Soldier Bug
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.