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Avatar for KristineGarden
May 31, 2018 9:04 PM CST
Napa, CA
We have lots of this bug in our garden this year. They are only found buried in the flowers, eating the center of the flowers (annual, perennial, roses, etc...). Any idea on what it is and how to control them would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Thumb of 2018-06-01/KristineGarden/e739a4
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Jun 1, 2018 5:10 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
Annuals Native Plants and Wildflowers Keeps Horses Dog Lover Daylilies Region: Canadian
Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Welcome!

It's a "true bug" of the insect order Hemiptera. I'm thinking either the family Lygaeidae or Miridae, leaning towards the latter. The distinguishing features that would differentiate are not clear enough (for me at least). These insects cannot chew, they have a long beak (which you can see in the picture) that they insert into the plant part they are feeding off. Unless they are causing visible damage you don't need to do anything about them. If you feel they are causing too much visible damage to the plants, carry a squirt bottle of insecticidal soap and zap them as you see them. Early morning is best for this with most insects as the cooler temperatures make them less active.
Avatar for KristineGarden
Jun 1, 2018 5:51 AM CST
Napa, CA
Thank you for the information. Usually, there are several in one flower and they seem to destroy the center of the flower making it dies quickly. Then they move on to the next flower.
I have tried insecticide soap with need oil but it does not seem to work. It look like it has hard shell body.
Avatar for KristineGarden
Jun 1, 2018 5:54 AM CST
Napa, CA
Sorry, I meant Neem oil.
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Jun 1, 2018 6:22 AM CST
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
Annuals Native Plants and Wildflowers Keeps Horses Dog Lover Daylilies Region: Canadian
Butterflies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Garden Sages Plant Identifier
I've used insecticidal soap on similar bugs and it did work, it's not as hard a "shelled body" as a beetle. I don't know what else might be available where you are but there are insecticidal soap plus pyrethrin products that may work better. Safer makes one called Trounce. Going stronger than that, you would probably need to use a systemic insecticide if you wanted to go that route.

When you next see the bugs in a flower, invert a plastic sandwich baggie down over the top of the flower and see if you can catch some. You might need to break off the flower into the baggie as well. Then you can go to your local Extension office (or a knowledgeable garden centre if you don't have an Extension office), show them the bugs and ask what you could use to control them there in CA.
Avatar for KristineGarden
Jun 1, 2018 6:35 AM CST
Napa, CA
Thank you. Will try your great suggestions.
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