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Plantwise Technical Factsheet

lucerne bug (Adelphocoris lineolatus)

Host plants / species affected
Actinidia kolomikta (kolomiktavine)
Amaranthus (amaranth)
Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Beta vulgaris (beetroot)
Conyza canadensis (Canadian fleabane)
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)
Eremurus (foxtail lilies)
Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)
Glycine max (soyabean)
Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)
Lactuca (lettuce)
Lotus corniculatus (bird's-foot trefoil)
Lupinus (lupins)
Malus (ornamental species apple)
Medicago (medic)
Medicago sativa (lucerne)
Melilotus (melilots)
Morus (mulberrytree)
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)
Onobrychis viciifolia (sainfoin)
Papaver (poppies)
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)
Pisum sativum (pea)
Prunus armeniaca (apricot)
Prunus persica (peach)
Pyrus (pears)
Rubus (blackberry, raspberry)
Rubus idaeus (raspberry)
Securigera varia (crown vetch)
Sesamum indicum (sesame)
Sesbania grandiflora (sesbania)
Solanum laciniatum (kangaroo apple)
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)
Solanum tuberosum (potato)
Trifolium (clovers)
Trifolium incarnatum (Crimson clover)
Trifolium pratense (purple clover)
Trifolium repens (white clover)
Triticum (wheat)
Vicia sativa (common vetch)
List of symptoms/signs
Fruit  -  abnormal shape
Fruit  -  discoloration
Fruit  -  external feeding
Fruit  -  lesions: on pods
Fruit  -  malformed skin
Fruit  -  reduced size
Growing point  -  discoloration
Growing point  -  distortion
Growing point  -  external feeding
Inflorescence  -  abnormal leaves (phyllody)
Inflorescence  -  discoloration (non-graminaceous plants)
Inflorescence  -  dwarfing; stunting
Inflorescence  -  external feeding
Inflorescence  -  fall or shedding
Inflorescence  -  twisting and distortion
Leaves  -  abnormal colours
Leaves  -  abnormal forms
Leaves  -  external feeding
Leaves  -  necrotic areas
Leaves  -  wilting
Seeds  -  discolorations
Seeds  -  lesions on seeds
Seeds  -  shrivelled
Stems  -  dieback
Stems  -  discoloration
Stems  -  discoloration of bark
Stems  -  distortion
Stems  -  external feeding
Stems  -  fasciation
Stems  -  necrosis
Stems  -  stunting or rosetting
Whole plant  -  distortion; rosetting
Whole plant  -  dwarfing
Whole plant  -  external feeding
Whole plant  -  wilt
The damage caused by A. lineolatus is similar to that caused by lygus bugs (Lygus spp.). Plant bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and damage the plant by puncturing the host tissue and sucking the sap. The plants react to the toxic saliva injected by the insects when they feed. In alfalfa and other forage crops, these bugs suppress stem growth and cause excessive branching, small, distorted leaves and necrosis of the leaf margin. Feeding on the buds and blossoms causes chlorosis and the buds and blossoms shrivel, turn greyish-white and drop. Seeds shrivel and turn brown when A. lineolatus feeds on seeds in the pods (Wipfli et al., 1990; Jensen et al., 1991; M-NDZTFA, 1998).

Similar damage is observed in oilseed crops. Adult plant bugs invade the fields during the early bud stage and nymphs appear at the flowering stage. Nymphs and adults feed on the buds, flowers and seeds of oilseed rape plants. Puncture marks are visible on the pods and sometimes a small drop of sap will exude from the wounds (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

In sunflower, injury to the buds, tubular and ligulate flowers, and later the seeds, causes necrotic spots. A. lineolatus prefers to feed on seeds at the edge of the head (Shindrova, 1979, 1982).

A. lineolatus causes pitting or scabbing of apples and pears and 'catfacing' of peaches and apricots (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

Tip die-back symptoms are common in asparagus as a result of feeding by A. lineolatus or lygus bugs (Grafius and Morrow, 1982). When groups of two adults and six nymphs of A. lineolatus were confined in cages on healthy asparagus crowns, all spears in the infested cages collapsed within 7 days. Small feeding punctures were observed on the curved side of affected spears. Fungi (Fusarium spp.) present in the crown may be a factor in the damage caused to asparagus (Wukasch and Sears, 1982).
Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Cultural methods of control for A. lineolatus include burning lucerne stubble and straw in the spring, before regrowth begins, to destroy the overwintering eggs. Weed control may also help to reduce local populations of A. lineolatus (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

The abundance of plant bugs can be reduced by various cultural practices including harrowing crops in the spring, increasing the frequency of cutting, reducing cutting height to 4-6 cm, removing weeds and providing spatial isolation (minimum 1.0-1.5 km) between new and old seed crops (Sekulic et al., 2005).

Mechanical Control

Border stands of different plants (fennel, maize, Pimpinella anisum, hemp and Coriandrum sativum) grown alongside lucerne can reduce the damage caused by plant bugs and significantly increase the number of healthy seeds (Erdelyi et al., 1995).

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

A. lineolatus is the main insect pest of lucerne seed crops. Feeding damage reduces seed production and quality. Heavily-infested lucerne blossoms normally but the flowers drop prematurely and the developing seeds shrivel and fail to mature. Damage caused by A. lineolatus is very important in Manitoba, USA, where about 8500 ha of lucerne is grown for seed and about 3.5 million kg of seed is produced (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

In the former USSR, damage caused by plant bugs is estimated at 10-14% loss of seed yield (Sedivy, 1972). Damage is most severe in dry years and depends on population density of the pests. A population of 300/100 sweep net can destroy all buds, whereas populations of 90-100 and 35/100 sweep net destroy 47 and 32% of buds, respectively (Bochkareva and Vdovichenko, 1974).

Damage in rape fields often goes unnoticed until swathing. Seed production can be reduced by about 10-15% in heavily infested fields (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

Damage to tree fruit crops is more intense if weather conditions are unfavourable to weed hosts during June and July. This is aggravated by the fact that fruit thinning has already taken place, therefore lowering the threshold for injury. Fruit crop losses vary from location to location and from species to species. Damage to peach fruits may reach 75%, whereas damage to asparagus can reach 22% (M-NDZTFA, 1998).

In Tadzhikistan, foci of A. lineolatus infestation have been observed in cotton. Losses were recorded and cotrol measures applied over 22,000 ha (Vanyants and Kovalenkov, 1979). A. lineolatus and four other sucking insect pests caused significant damage to cotton in Uzbekistan (Khamraev et al., 2001).

A. lineolatus, Lygocoris lucorum and Adelphocoris fasciaticollis are important secondary insect pests in cotton fields in northern China, but have become key insect pests in transgenic cotton fields (transgenic variety expressing the insecticidal Bt protein Cry1A, and a cotton line expressing proteins of Cry1A and CpTI (cowpea trypsin inhibitor gene)). Damage to cotton could increase further with an expansion in the area planted to transgenic cotton, if no additional control measures are adopted (Wu et al., 2002).

Nymphs of A. lineolatus caused 82-99% bud death on birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) after being caged on the stems for 5 days. Adults of A. lineolatus caused 63-95% bud death when caged for 6 days and caused shrivelling of 49-68% of developing trefoil seeds when caged for 13 days. On a per-insect basis, A. lineolatus was found to be more destructive to L. corniculatus than other plant bugs (Wipfli et al., 1990).

In Bulgaria, A. lineolatus, Lygus rugulipennis and Dolycoris baccarum were the most numerous and important hemipterans causing damage to sunflower throughout the vegetative period. Their numbers increased significantly at the time of anthesis and ripening because they had two generations per year, the first feeding mainly on primary food plants and the second developing entirely on the flowers, causing considerable damage. Damaged seeds were of lower quality and had lower weight per 1000 seeds, and oil and protein contents. Qualitative changes, due to the increased content of free fatty acids, were also observed in the damaged seeds. Cultivars were preferred to hybrids, and non-testaceous lines were most susceptible to attack. The rate of infestation in north-eastern Bulgaria ranged from 9.13 to 11.56% (Shindrova, 1979, 1982; Shindrova and Kontev, 1982).

A. lineolatus is a vector of virus diseases of potato (Shmyglya, 1974; Gainullina et al., 1977).
Related treatment support
External factsheets
Ontario CropIPM factsheets, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Canada, 2015, English language
Ontario CropIPM factsheets, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Canada, 2015, French language
AAFC Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheets, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), 2015, English language
AAFC Sustainable Crop Protection Factsheets, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), 2015, French language
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