Lygus are the Smiths of the insect pest world. There are more than 40 species of plant feeding insects in the family Miridae.
They are social critters, flitting from weed to crop to weed and back again. Lygus have never met a plant they did not like. For some hosts, lygus are friendly visitors, not doing any damage; just visiting.
For others they are not making social calls and can cause major damage. Lygus can cause significant damage to crops like cotton, strawberries, pears, apples and celery in California.
Lygus are also known as tarnished plant bugs. Lygus lineolaris, is another tarnished plant bug that is free fruit pest in the Pacific Northwest.
This enewsletter is focusing the most prevalent and troublesome lygus found in California and Arizona, Lygus Hesperus.
Lygus Hesperushas long been a major pest in California. With the eradication of the boll weevil and pink bollworm in other parts of the U.S. Cotton Belt, Lygus Hesperus it has become public enemy No. 1.elsewhere.
The combination of Bt cotton putting the pink bollworm on the brink of eradication and a statewide pest control stewardship program to bring the whitefly under control in Arizona has repositioned lygus there from a largely secondary pest to a primary pest of cotton.
This enewsletter written by Western Farm Press editors is sponsored by Valent U.S.A. It is the first of three that will be distributed this summer.
Western Farm Press is indebted to University of Arizona and University of California entomologists for providing information for these enewsletters. Specifically, we want to thank UC IPM Advisor Dr. Pete Goodell and UA IPM specialist Dr. Peter Ellsworth for their assistance. Both are recognized experts in lygus pest management and are leaders in developing proven Integrated Pest Management strategies for successful control of lygus and other pests.