An invasive and evil bug

She looks like nothing and yet … The devilish bug, which looks like our harmless European bug, has not finished talking about her! Fall invasions in houses, damage to crops … The beast attacks on all fronts!

Halyomorpha halys, otherwise known as ‘marble bug’ or ‘devilish bug’

Where does the evil bug come from?

Halyomorpha halys, otherwise called ‘Marbled bug‘ or ‘Devilish bug‘is an insect, more precisely a hemipteran, originally from Asia.

A travel lover, she uses and abuses maritime or rail transport to travel and spread around the globe.

Discovered for the first time in Liechtenstein in 2004, it spreads very quickly all over Europe. In 2012, the diabolical bug was already present in the Strasbourg region; it is now well established in Italy and Greece.

She would have colonized the United States in 1990 when she cacauses significant damage to crops.

How to recognize the evil bug?

Halyomorpha halys is a big bug (12 to 17 mm in length and 7 to 10 mm in width).

Of gray / brown color, this bug is mottled darker all over the back. It has paler spots on the edge of the elytra, often white / cream and triangular.

This bug strongly resembles the classic gray pushpin (Rhaphigaster nebulosa) of which it presents the same morphological characteristics and certain habits such as that of coming to winter in houses in autumn.

To find the only obvious distinguishing feature, you have to turn the bug around and observe its abdomen. If it has a well-marked point starting from the base of the forelegs, it is our native gray bug, if this kind of ‘stinger’ is not present, you are in contact with a devilish bug!

Other criteria make it possible to differentiate them, in particular the positioning of the white spots on the antennae, or the white membrane spotted with brown elongated macules all along the veins.

What is the life cycle of the evil bug?

Like all frequent travelers, our evil bug easily adapts to the climate of the host country. In its country of origin (South-East of China), the beast, happy, reproduces up to 4 times a year! In France there are only one to two generations per year depending on the climatic zone. Knowing that only one female is capable of lay 200 eggs in nature (almost 500 sheltered from a laboratory), it is easy to understand why this bug is so invasive.

Fortunately, the larvae can only develop at a temperature within between 15 and 30 ° C. As soon as the temperatures are mild and stabilized, the females lay their eggs (round, white and smooth) in groups of around thirty under the leaves of the plants which will take between 3 to 6 days to develop to the larval stage.

Each larva will then pass by 5 stages before becoming an imago (adult form), something that will take between 60 and 110 days during which, the larvae will suck the juice from the leaves, stems, fruits and even seeds.

As soon as the day length and temperature drop, adults overwinter in crevices or in houses.

What are the plants of the devil’s bug?

The host plants are numerous (more than 120), in particular of many fruit trees including citrus, apple, pear, plum, hazelnut, but also small fruit trees like grapevine, kiwi, bramble or raspberry.

On the side of ornamental plants, the bug grows on walnut, lime, hibiscus, honeysuckle or maple trees.

In the vegetable garden, she has a predilection for peas, soybeans, asparagus, cucumber, corn, pepper …

What damage does the evil bug cause?

By biting plant tissue the bug causes necrosis, weakens the plant and sometimes transmits phytopathologies passing from one plant to another. The harvests are compromised which poses many concerns in particular to certain agricultural giants in the United States where the bug has been rife since 1990 despite the regular rains of pesticides.

Is the evil bug dangerous for humans?

No, although fall home invasions can be overwhelming, this phytophagous bug do not sting the human being nor animals, it is completely harmless. A few cases of allergy (rhinitis, conjunctivitis) have been reported but they are very rare.

How to report the presence of the devilish bug?

To fight against a parasite, it is necessary to get to know it and locate it.

To help scientific research, you can report the presence of the insect and send a photo which will help determine the animal and plant host on the site of Ephytia from INRA.

To do this, register on the ephytia site via the ‘Registration’ tab which you will find at the top right. Then all you have to do is click on the “Add an observation in order to access the declarative page to enter your observations.

Another possibility of participatory science: download the Agiir application. You can send photos that will help determine if this is the bug in question. The presence statement in the region will then be taken into account.

If you prefer emails, send your observations to the MNHN ‘National Museum of Natural History) to Romain Garrouste: and if you are more comfortable with traditional writing, here is his postal address:

Romain Garrouste, National Museum of Natural History
Institute of Systematic Evolution Biodiversity
UMR 7205
45 rue Buffon, PO Box 50
75005 Paris.

How to fight against the evil bug?


Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.

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