True Bugs include some 10,000 species in North America and are members of the order Heteroptera, which include hoppers, cicadas, aphids and many others with “bug” in the name. They have several unique features. First, they all have piercing and sucking mouthparts that work like a straw. Most species feed on plant juices, but a few are blood-sucking. Many are agricultural or public health pests, but a few are predatory and considered beneficial. Considered beneficial are several of the aquatic bugs like the Boatman, or on land the Minute Pirate Bug, Whitefly Predatory Bug, Spined Soldier Bug and the Assassin Bug. See our public health pests section for solutions to pest that affect you and your family.
True Bugs also have two pairs of wings. The forewings are called hemelytra. 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. A few have scent glands for defensive purposes. Most have the word “bug” in their name (i.e. Lygus bugs, squash bugs, stink bugs, lace bugs, box elder bugs or harlequin bugs), but a few are named for their actions, like leafhoppers and planthoppers.
True bugs that feed on plant juices deposit eggs exposed on foliage or bark or inserted into plant tissue. 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.
Control in Your Garden or Greenhouse.
- Use beneficials like Praying Mantids, Ladybugs, or Green Lacewing.
- While you are waiting for the beneficials to arrive or hatch, use a Neem Oil product like 70% Neem Oil, BioNeem, Bon-Neem, Rose Rx or Tomato and Vegetable 3-in-1.
- Use Mycotrol O for plant bugs, aphids and leafhoppers.