Those evil creatures are at it again
FOUR LINED PLANT BUGS are attacking all my mint family plants -- peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm (so far none on monarda) and they also attack clover and other plants and eventually move onto vegetables like peppers.
They leave perfectly round black spots all over the mostly terminal leaves close to the leaf stem. Right now, most of them are still nymphs and look bright red with black bellies and feet. Nymphs as well as adults scuttle and jump off the plant as soon as you cast a shadow over them.
This year, my strategy is to just snatch at the top pairs of black-spotted mint leaves and crush them in my hand or drop and grind them into the ground with my boots. This way, the bugs are trapped in the leaves and get crushed. Also, by removing the spotted leaves, it makes it easier to "spot" them again next time, and I'm not going to want those blackened leaves anyway, AND the growing tips get "pinched" so the plants will grow bushier -- (a win/win/win )
So far, crushing in bare hand leads to overwhelming mint oil exposure so I soon have to switch to drop and stomp/grind.
Some of the bright red nymphs have moulted into yellow-green striped juvies. I'm going to try to get most of them before they reach adult and start the next generation because once that happens they move into the veg garden.
For verbal description, see this thread