If you’ve been driven mad by the sight of four lined plant bugs in your garden, read on to learn how to tackle this issue naturally.
Both adult bugs and nymphs can cause damage to your plants . Fortunately, there are a few natural ways to help!
From small nymphs to adult bugs, these pests suck out the sap from plants. Signs that you have four-lined plant bugs include discoloration of leaves (black or translucent spots) and then small holes some weeks later.
Host plants that they are drawn to include chrysanthemums, sunflowers, some garden vegetables, mint, some fruits, and other plants .
In their adult stages, four-lined plant bugs (Poecilocapsus lineatus) have a distinctive look. They have yellowish-green bodies with four black lines running lengthwise down each side.
These little guys can also fly, and they tend to be more active during the summer season. In addition, four-lined plant bug nymphs are reddish-orange with black wing pads.
How to Get Rid of Four Lined Plant Bugs Naturally
Fortunately, you don’t have to use harsh chemicals to control four-lined plant bugs. Check out the home remedies and natural solutions below.
1. Cut Down Host Plants
One action you can take to get rid of four lined plant bugs is to cut down their host plants.
As mentioned, these bugs feed on a wide variety of plants. Apart from those listed above, you can expect to see them on peppers, azaleas, gooseberries, dogwood, and more.
If these kinds of plants are growing near your garden, then it’s best to get rid of them since they might attract four lined plant bugs to your garden (in their season).
You can also reduce the population of these bugs by cutting down infested plants. This could mean that you may have to cut down some of your favorite plants in the garden.
Doing this prevents fourlined plant bugs from spreading and multiplying quickly in your garden.
2. Insecticidal Soap
Insecticidal soap can kill four-lined plant bugs through contact. However, it works best on immature bugs that are still in their nymph stage. It doesn’t work as well on adults.
When using insecticidal soap, make sure you thoroughly coat the entire plant with the solution. Make sure you cover every leaf, stem, and flower in the solution. That way, any bugs hiding on the underside of leaves will also be taken care of.
Use a spray bottle to ensure even coverage. It’s also best to use insecticidal soap early in the morning or late in the evening for optimal results.
Insecticidal soap won’t the kill eggs that have already been laid. Therefore, you’ll need to reapply the treatment every week for a few weeks. This is to ensure all the newly hatched critters have been taken care of.
3. Horticultural Oil
Horticultural oil is a natural commercial product that you can use to control immature plant bugs. Yes, it works better at controlling the nymphs.
It is so effective that you can use it year-round. Moreover, psyllids, adelgids, and sawfly larvae are other pests that you can use it on.
4. Neem Oil
You might have heard of neem oil and its many benefits. In the pest control realm, you can also use it to tackle four-lined plant bug infestations.
You can either apply a ready-to-use product or mix your own concoction.
To make a DIY neem oil spray for four lined plant bugs, mix 2 teaspoons of the oil with 1 liter of warm water. Next, add 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, like castile soap.
Shake or stir the mixture until the ingredients combine evenly. Spray this homemade pesticide generously over the affected areas.
Again, this plant-based solution works best on the nymphs.
You can also try pruning to help control four lined plant bugs. This home remedy helps because it removes the eggs that may have been laid in the damaged plant leaves.
If you do not remove the eggs, they will hatch next spring and continue the generation.
So, prune off infected foliage or branches.
6. Remove Weeds
Weeds like pigweed can be another home for these bugs. So, it’s important to remove them from your garden area.
You can pull them up with your hands or use other natural weed control aids. Adding mulch around your plants can also help prevent weeds from taking hold.
7. Natural Predators
Pirate bugs, frogs, some birds, spiders, big-eyed bugs, and damsel bugs can all help keep plant bugs under control. They eat a ton of different pests, including these pesky bugs and/or their nymphs.
To attract them to your garden, do some thorough research to make it hospitable for them.
Another natural predator of the four-lined plant bug is the larva of Cirrospilus ovisugosus (a predatory wasp). The larva attacks the eggs, destroying them.
8. Row Covers
Floating row covers can also be a great organic four lined plant bug control method. These are lightweight, porous garden fabrics that you can lay over your plants.
By covering plants with row covers, you remove the bugs’ preferred habitat. Plus, these covers still let light and water through, so you won’t have any problems with continued growth.
This is a great solution to keep away four-lined plant bugs without turning to pesticides.
9. Pick Them Off
For a more hands-on approach to eliminating four lined plant bugs, you can always just go outside and pick them off your plants. Well, at least the ones that you can see.
This is an especially effective method if the infestation is still in its early stages.
When picking them off, you’ll want to make sure that you get both the adults (if you can catch them) and the nymphs.
This method might take longer than other solutions. However, it can be very effective if done properly. Just make sure that you inspect your plants regularly.
With our four-lined plant bug fight strategy, you’ll be able to get these pesky creatures off your plants. It takes a mixture of vigilance and learning the right methods to protect your plants. But it’s well worth the effort.