Common name: Damsel Bug
Scientific name: Order Heteroptera, family Nabidae, Nabis alternatus
Size: Adult--1/4" to 1/2"
Identification: Adult bugs are tan, brown, or black; they use their distinctively jointed rostrums (snout or beak) to suck troublesome insects dry. Fast-moving and can fly. Similar in appearance to assassin bugs.
Biology and life cycle: Adults overwinter in protected spots. Female adults lay eggs on stems. Nymphs hatch and immediately start feeding on pest insects. Two or more generations a year.
Habitat: On the ground and in vegetation of all kinds.
Feeding habits: They hide in flowers to attack and eat aphids, caterpillars, and many other troublesome insects such as thrips, plant bugs, leafhoppers, and tree hoppers.
Economic importance: Very beneficial predator. Control plant-eating insects.
Natural control: Biodiversity. Any plant in the aster family will attract damsel bugs.
Organic control: None needed.
Insight: Can bite, so handle with care. Attract damsel bugs by planting alfalfa.