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Keep an eye out for Rutherglen bug

Rutherglen bug breeding intensifies during late spring and early summer, and they can reach damaging levels very quickly.

The Rutherglen bug (Nysius vinitor) is a native insect that attacks a wide range of weeds and crops in the warmer months.  They are a sucking pest that use their mouthparts to pierce stems, buds, flowers and pods, including pods with maturing grain. They can arise from weeds beneath a crop, or migrate into the crop on warm northerly winds from distant locations. They are well adapted to dry warm weather and are often most damaging to moisture-stressed plants.  They are most prominently found on pre- and post-windrowed canola, often in vast numbers. They can persist in windrows, searching out the last remnants of green plant material. Consequently, adults and nymphs can become a grain contaminant when in high numbers.

Rutherglen bug in canola stubble (source: The Beatsheet)


Highest numbers of Rutherglen bug are often observed along crop perimeters. Populations will increase with the warmer weather conditions and can reach damaging levels very quickly.

This spring, Rutherglen bug adults have been observed in fields in the Liverpool Plains region of Northern NSW, however densities are not as high as in 2016. While no nymphs have been seen yet, the number of reproductive females has been increasing and eggs are being laid in this region.

Check crops over the coming weeks, particularly canola and linseed. Contamination can be minimised by attaching screens to headers or by harvesting at night. As Rutherglen bugs can readily re-invade a sprayed area, insecticide application will not guarantee a clean sample.

Rutherglen bug to not damage canola pods once they are hardened. Similarly, they will not cause damage to grain in storage.

For further information visit the Rutherglen bug PestNote


Field reports of Rutherglen bug

Dr Melina Miles – Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Toowoomba)

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