The Q&A Archives: Four Lined Pest

Question: I have looked through all my books and have found nothing on four lined pest and wonder if you can give me some information on it. I have what I think is four lined pest desease on my Malva's and eventually they all became wilted and died. Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Answer: Four-lined plant bugs are common pests in gardens and landscapes this time of year. Feeding injury from these insects appears as small (1/16 inch) sunken round spots on young foliage of many herbaceous and woody plants. These spots may be brown to translucent and may drop out of the leaf, leaving a shot-hole appearance. Often injured leaves become distorted and curled.

Feeding injury from four-lined plant bugs is often mistaken for a leaf spot disease. However, these spots are almost perfectly uniform and similar in size, unlike spots caused by fungi and bacteria.

Both nymphs (immatures) and adults can cause damage. Nymphs are orange-red in color and about 1/4 inch long. Adults are 3/8 inch long and lime-green with four black stripes on their backs. These insects scamper quickly when the plant they are on is disturbed.

When present in large numbers, can be controlled with insecticidal soap or a labeled insecticide.

Hope this clears things up for you!

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