What are capsid bugs?

Capsid bugs are like large, mobile aphids. They are up to 6 mm long and have green bodies with long antennae. They can crawl, jump and fly. They like feeding on the new growth of plants, and they cause a ragged appearance in leaves on a variety of garden plants. The apple capsid Plesiocoris rugicollis feeds specifically on apple and pear trees, and it can damage fruit. Its effects are most noticeable from May to September. Its eggs on the bark of apple trees hatch in spring, and the bugs feed on leaves, then shoots and developing fruit. Affected fruit has raised corky blemishes, but these are superficial and the fruit can be eaten and stored.

apple capsid Plesiocoris rugicollis
Photo by Mick Talbot – Flickr: Lygocoris rugicollis, CC BY 2.0

How to treat capsid bugs

Treatment of capsid bugs begins with orchard hygiene. If damage is light, good orchard hygiene is sufficient, keeping weeds down, and collecting all dropped leaves, prunings and other tree materials, and removing them from the garden or orchard. If you have just a few trees, it is possible to remove and destroy these insects by hand. A winter wash can be useful to destroy capsid bug eggs.

In the case of greater damage and in larger-scale orchards, capsid bugs can be treated with a pyrethrum pesticide. In this case, utmost care has to be taken to prevent damage to bees and other beneficial insects. Only spray after blossom is over in order to prevent harming pollinating insects. We recommend expert help in such cases.

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