True Bugs

True Bugs are the more than 80,000 species that are classified in the Order Hemiptera. Hemiptera differ from other insect orders because they have sucking mouth parts that work like a straw. This mouth part is called a proboscis. Unlike the proboscis found in other insect orders, the proboscises of Hemiptera are immobile and not retractable.

Additional features of the Hemiptera order include:

  • Hemiptera have two pairs of wings. The half closest to the body is hardened, but the other half is membranous. The hindwings are fully membranous and are for flight.
  • In addition, their antennae, if not hidden, have 4-5 segments. Most are flattened in shape and many have protruding "shoulders" which give them a very characteristic look.
  • They do not undergo metamorphoses. A nymph emerges that looks like a wingless adult. They molt as they grow, eventually developing wings. They may have several generations a year, depending on the climate.
  • A few have scent glands for defensive purposes.
  • Many produce sound to communicate.

Although a very diverse group, most Hemipterans feed on plants using their proboscis to extract the sugars from the leaves and stems of plants. There are some insects in this order that are considered beneficial, one example is the Minute Pirate Bug. Examples of true bugs that are not considered to be beneficial include:

See below for control options.

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