Cotton - Stainer bugs

Description

There are more than twenty different species of the Dysdercus genus which occur as boll pests. Colorful, elongate winged bug, 10-20 mm long and about 4.5 mm wide. Reddish orange to light fawn in color with a white "collar" and sometimes with a black band on the throax. A black mark is usually present in the broadest part of each hemelytron. The antennae are over two-thirds the length of the body and, like the six-legs, are usually reddish at the base and black at the extremities. Both adults and nymphs fall to the ground if the cotton plant is shaken.

Damage

Damaged bolls contain yellow/brown stained lint near to the feeding punctures made by the insects. Fungi also infiltrate through the puncture canals into the bolls, leading to internal boll disease.

Life cycle

Cotton stainers mate 2-6 days after their final moult and remain in copula until the first oviposition which takes place. 2-8 days later. The egg laying period lasts for 20-66 days; eggs being laid in batches of up to 100 in moist soil or plant debris, and hatching after 5-8 days. Second and third instar feed on seeds on the ground. Fourth and fifth instars wander over the cotton plants seeking bolls on which to feed. The nymphal period lasts for about 21-35 days. Adults feed by sucking sap from seeds.

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