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Rutherglen bugs

Agronomist, James Ingrey (H.O. Ryder & Son), reports that Rutherglen bugs (Nysius vinitor) have been observed in several canola crops around Grenfell, in the Central West Slopes and Plains district of New South Wales. They have caused extensive feeding damage, with large areas of crops completely removed. Although they are generally observed in spring, Rutherglen bugs can be sporadic pests in autumn. Rutherglen bugs were a problem at this time last season in the Central West Slopes and Plains district.

The Rutherglen bug is a common native insect that attacks a wide range of weed and crop hosts, including sunflowers, linseed, canola, wheat, sorghum, safflower and lucerne. In some seasons, Rutherglen bugs can reach plague proportions, typically when the senescence of weed hosts in spring and early summer forces adults and nymphs into nearby crops. Highest numbers of Rutherglen bugs are often observed along crop perimeters.

Adults are 4 mm long, have clear wings and are narrow bodied. They are grey-brown in colour, have two prominent black eyes and are very mobile. Immature Rutherglen bugs are dark red and more swollen in shape than adults. They are sap suckers and damage to susceptible plants is similar to that caused by aphids. Feeding by high numbers of bugs can cause cupping of leaves and retardation of emerging seedlings. Click here for images of Rutherglen bugs.

Rutherglen bugs can be controlled by removing weeds they use as hosts and by ploughing a deep furrow around the crop, which prevents wingless individuals migrating from weeds. As Rutherglen bugs can readily reinvade a sprayed area, insecticide applications will not guarantee a clean crop. There are several organophosphates and synthetic pyrethoids registered against Rutherglen bugs.

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