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applestar
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Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

:evil: Those evil creatures are at it again :evil:

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 :wink:)

So far, crushing in bare hand leads to overwhelming mint oil exposure so I soon have to switch to drop and stomp/grind. :twisted:

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. :evil:

For verbal description, see this thread
:arrow: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=212436

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sheeshshe
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fabulous. it is that time again already?? I don't even have plants in the ground yet! LOL

They were a fascinating looking bug. I didnt have too many last year, thankfully.
Sheila, gardening on the zone 4b/5a line.

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applestar
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

They are here again :x
I did see the adults a week or so ago. now their babies have hatched :evil:

I spotted their signs first in the oregano this time:
Image

Snatch the top damaged sprig and crush. DON'T bother to inspect to see if there are any. THEY ARE THERE, trust me. Crush first, THEN inspect if you wish. Otherwise, they will scramble out and drop to the ground.

But unlike the adults that jump off the plant if you cast a shadow, the juvies' first instinct is to hide in those first few leaves. Take advantage and crush where they hide. At least one, more usually two or even three. :twisted:

Oregano
Image
Image
Lemon balm
Image

...also found them on spearmint, peppermint, and ground ivy. :evil:
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vinyl217
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

A dusting of Diatomaceous Earth should dry most of those beasties up. A spray of fresh mixed Neem Oil will also interrupt the breeding cycle and should help. Both are organic solutions that leave the plant safe for consumption. I'm just counting down the days til the Japanese Beetles consume all my bean plants :x
"Real tomato ketchup, Eddie?" - Clark W. Griswold

MasonSebastian
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

does chili pepper extract on water and spraying on the affected areas help?

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applestar
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

Thanks for the suggestions, but I don't like to spray the herbs if I can help it.
I have to remove the affected leaves anyway since I can't use them for anything, so I might as well remove them FAST with the bugs in them rather than SLOWLY and watch them drop down to the ground and escape :x

I *may* do the DE thing if I can't keep up..... :roll:
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Cola82
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

Huh! That looks a little like what's happening to all the lower branches of my tomatoes, but I haven't seen any bugs that look like this. Do they attack tomatoes at all?

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applestar
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Re: Four lined plant bugs are the bane of my mint patch!!!

They don't seem to linger on tomatoes but I have seen the characteristic perfectly circular small dark/black spots on the leaves sometimes.
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