Saturday, June 19, 2010
Twice-Stabbed Stink Bug
Each year they show up in my gardens in fairly large numbers. I find them mating, feeding and laying eggs on the Hybrid Columbines and the Lamb's Ear. These are very tiny bugs measuring approximately 1/4 of an inch in length.
These are the eggs, as you can see, there are still three left to hatch. This entire cluster of eggs was about 1/4 of an inch in diameter. When they hatch they are impossibly tiny nymphs..... The females will remain close by to guard the eggs and the nymphs.
Here is one little nymph crawling down the stem of a columbine plant. The diameter of the plant stem is about the same dimension as the stick of a wooden sparkler that we were all fond of as children on the 4th of July. So that gives you some idea of just how tiny this nymph really is as you can see it's feet gripping the stem....and in no way does it even come close to wrapping around that narrow little stem. The adults overwinter in leaf litter and become active again in the spring.
These stink bugs feed on the juices of various plants. The enzyme in their saliva breaks down the tissue of the plant and they slurp it up through their beak-like mouth. The nymphs feed on tiny insects.
Identifying them is easy....they are all black with red or yellow on their pronotum, two red or yellow spots on their abdomen and the wings will be edged in red or yellow. Their overall shape is shield-like just as other stink bugs are. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats including backyard gardens, prairies, meadows, grasslands, open fields and other grassy areas.
These little bugs also go by other names which include: Two-Spotted Stink bug; Black-Red Stink Bug; and Wee Harlequin Bug.