Rutherglen Bug & Cluster Bug

Rutherglen bug (Nysius vinitor) and Grey Cluster bug (Nysius clevelandensis) are both native species that can migrate into crops and gardens in very large numbers in favourable conditions. The adult bugs swarm sporadically when native grasses and weeds dry off and descend on crops, orchards and gardens. They attack flower heads, and feed on seeds and new-growth sap of asparagus (so keep an eye out for these bugs now), beans, potato, stone fruits, strawberry, sunflower and tomato. Swarming adults only feed on nectar and do little damage to most other plants.

It is the Grey Cluster bug which is seen more often on the Coffs Coast. But both species breed on a wide range of native and weed hosts, building up to large numbers when the season is favourable with abundant fresh green growth in the spring.

Adults are 3-4 mm long, mottled grey-brown black and have clear wings folded flat over the back. Nymphs are wingless, with a reddish-brown, pear-shaped body N. clevelandesis is hairy and N. vinitor looks smooth.
Prevention is mainly to control weeds as they are the main food source. Treatment – try disrupting them with a blast from a hose. Apply pyrethrins being mindful to follow the instructions.
Natural enemies are Damsel bugs, ladybirds, parasitic wasps and flies.

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