Got a pesky problem with tarnished plant bugs? These critters can cause injury to certain plants.
If you’re keen to find a more natural solution to get rid of tarnished plant bugs, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best methods for dealing with these pesky pests without harsh chemicals.
What do tarnished bugs look like? These bugs vary in size, but the adults generally measure around ¼ inch long.
Adults are typically winged, and they are greenish-brown in color . They also have distinctive reddish-brown markings on the wings.
These bugs feed on a variety of plants. However, they prefer fruit and vegetable crops like tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, spinach, celery, and snap beans. They also go after cotton.
So if you have any of these plants in your garden or around your yard, it’s wise to keep an eye out for tarnished plant bugs (Lygus lineolaris).
They will also target fruit trees, such as cherry, plum, and apple. Flowers like the cosmos, zinnia, dahlia, chrysanthemum, and poppy are also targets.
If you have noticed catfacing, aborted fruit buds, or dwarfed fruits in your garden plants, chances are you have tarnished plant bug damage.
How to Get Rid of Tarnished Bugs Naturally
If your garden or crops become infested with TPB, it’s important to act fast.
Natural options like introducing predatory insects, planting companion plants, or using natural repellents are great ways to minimize the damage from these bugs.
Below is a list of home remedies and natural control methods for these pests.
1. Floating Row Covers
Row covers are a simple but effective way to prevent tarnished plant bugs from coming near your crops.
In this method, you use a lightweight and breathable fabric that covers and traps the insects before they can reach your crops.
2. Sticky Traps
Sticky traps are just what they sound like—traps with a sticky surface that will trap the bugs when they touch them. It’s an effective way to catch bugs without using any harsh chemicals, and it’s super easy to do!
Moreover, you can make your own DIY traps or buy ready-to-use ones online.
3. Crop Rotation
One of the best natural strategies when it comes to Tarnished plant bug organic control is crop rotation. It’s a simple but effective way to help keep pests in check.
4. Trap Crops
A trap crop is simply a decoy plant that attracts and entices these bugs away from other plants, thus reducing the number of insects on the latter.
One trap crop that proves successful is the mullein plant.
5. Eliminate Weeds from the Garden
Weeds are known to attract these bugs, so it’s important to keep them in check.
Pull or dig out weeds as soon as you notice them. You can use a hoe or weed digger for large areas, and a hand trowel for smaller ones.
This will reduce breeding sites for these pests.
6. Natural Predators
Enlisting the help of natural predators is one of the most effective and least labor-intensive methods for eliminating plant bugs, including these ones.
While in their immature stages, TPB have quite a few natural predators that will feed on them, keeping their population in check.
Some of these predatory insects include pirate bugs, damsel bugs, assassin bugs, and big-eyed bugs .
Birds such as chickadees, wrens, sparrows, and purple finches may also help. These winged creatures love feasting on garden pests, so they may be a great ally in reducing TPB numbers.
7. Kaolin clay
Kaolin clay is used in some natural insect repellents.
When applied to plants, kaolin clay creates a protective barrier on the leaves, which can prevent Lygus bugs from feeding and reproducing.
Surround WP is our recommended brand.
8. Insecticidal Soap
When sprayed onto a tarnished plant bug, insecticidal soap works by penetrating the exterior of the bug and dehydrating its body.
You can easily purchase this soap spray online and use it to thoroughly spray the bugs.
9. Neem Oil
This is a natural repellent that can help get rid of a wide range of pests, including tarnished plant bugs. However, it is especially effective against the larvae.
Once properly prepared, apply this home remedy directly to the damaged foliage as soon as you spot it to stop the pests in their tracks.
Simply mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil in 1 liter of water and spray it directly onto your plants. You can also add a teaspoon of liquid soap to the recipe for better results.
10. Bug Buster-O
This is a plant-based product that’s safe for your plants and the environment.
Bug Buster-O contains pyrethrins, which have been extracted from plants and have been proven to be effective against these bugs. This ingredient works to kill the critters on contact.
11. Pyganic Gardening
This product is a botanical insecticide that can also effectively kill these pesky bugs.
Moreover, Pyganic Gardening is OMRI-listed as an organic pesticide that can kill over 100 pests.
After seeing just how big of a problem Tarnished Plant Bugs can be in the garden, it’s important to take the right steps to eliminate them.
Natural remedies can be more effective and environmentally friendly than most chemical treatments.
Maintaining strong and healthy plants should also be part of your overall approach to protecting your garden from Tarnished Plant Beetles.