Green shield bugs

Our common green shield bug, Palomena prasina, is widespread in the UK. It is seldom, if ever, troublesome and is a bug you can enjoy sharing your garden with.

The bugs show an incredible diversity in their appearance as they develop: from little tiny round green babies with black dots, they grow bigger and bigger until finally acquiring their characteristic shield shape.

Juvenile green shield bugs on a lilac leaf
Juvenile green shield bugs on a lilac leaf
Adult shield bugs
Adult shield bugs

 

Shield bugs like nothing better than to lounge in the sun, occasionally sucking a bit of sap from a wide variety of plants, but without causing damage. Hazelnut growers do regard them as a pest as the hazel is their favourite food. And if too many shield bugs suck the sap of the hazel trees, the nuts tend to drop early without forming properly.

A green shield bug enjoying a late autumn raspberry.
A green shield bug enjoying a late autumn raspberry.

There is another similar shield bug that is common in continental Europe and has also been seen regularly in the south of the UK: the southern green shield bug, Nezara viridula. This shield bug is a serious pest and its spread in the UK is being monitored.

British Bugs has a fantastic guide to help with shield bug identification at all stages of their development. Fera has information about the status of the non-native Southern green shield bug.

 

 

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