Ash Plant Bug – Tropidosteptes amoenus

Ash Plant Bug: Appearance, Territory, Damage, and Life Cycle

Latin Name: Tropidosteptes Amoenus

Appearance: Miridae is the plant bug family that includes ash plant bugs. They are found throughout the United States on ash and may feed on neighboring plants on occasion if the ash becomes badly infected and defoliated. The ash plant bug is prevalent on trees in Manitoba most of the time. Ash plant bugs emerge as adults in late June or early July. They are 1/4-inch in length, thin bugs that range in color from green to light brown, and have a unique yellow triangular patch in the center of the back. Nymphs are tiny, energetic creatures that range in hue from bright green to black. They resemble other “real bugs” such as the box elder insect, squash bug, and stink bug. Their young look similar to their parents, without the wings.

Hosts Plants: Ash plant bugs feed on the sap of green ash leaves.

Territory: Native to Manitoba.

Damage Insect Cause: These insects eat by penetrating leaf tissue and drawing plant juices from it. In minor situations, the leaves will have some white stippling on the surface, but the trees are generally undamaged. In more severe cases, the leaves will become brown and curl along the edges, culminating in leaf drop. Fortunately, ash trees are quite hardy and can endure ash plant-insect attacks. Only after several years of persistent infestation are trees in danger of dying.

Controlling the ash plant-insect is rarely necessary. Foliage lost due to pest damage is easily restored by healthy, strong trees. Furthermore, by the time harm is discovered, it is often too late for effective control. Maintaining tree health and vigor by watering and mulching is the best way to handle ash plant bugs. Insecticides might be used on stressed or newly transplanted trees. Treatment, while the nymphs are still tiny, can prevent symptoms of feeding harm.

Life History and Habits: Every year, two generations of ash plant bugs are born. The eggs hatch in the spring, just as the ash leaves begin to grow. In June, first-generation adults appear. They then mate and lay their eggs on the leaf midribs. By July or August, nymphs hatch from the eggs and grow into second-generation adults.

Adults of the second-generation mate and lay their eggs on twigs, bud scales, and other sheltered areas of the bark. These eggs survive the winter and hatch in the spring. Adults of the second generation are active until the first heavy frost. While the second generation of ash plant bugs is more active, the first generation causes more leaf damage. Young leaves that develop in the spring are particularly vulnerable to plant-insect saliva.