Naturally Trees

Lantana Bug

lantanabug.jpg

What are these bugs on my Fiddlewood Tree?

The lantana bug was introduced into Queensland and New South Wales in 1995/96 as a biological control agent for lantana. Within three years of its release the insect was found to have established on lantana, but was also discovered on a non-target species Fiddlewood.

The bug was first noticed on Fiddlewood’s (Citharexylum spinosum) about three years ago but populations were very low. In the last year populations have greatly increased, and have caused extensive damage to some trees.

Adult lantana bugs are 6mm long and pale brown in colour, with a distinctive projection on the front of the head.  The bugs feed by inserting their sharp, tube-like mouthparts into the plant stem and sucking out the sap.

The plants lose water and nutrients, becoming pale and leaves and stems may shrivel. The insects ingest large volumes of sap in order to get sufficient nutrition. As a result they excrete large amounts of honeydew which coats the host tree and falls on areas below. The honeydew is a substrate for the growth of sooty mould. As this black growth spreads over the host and surrounding plants it interferes with photosynthesis, further stressing the plants. Plant tissue is damaged by the sharp mouthparts, and the wounds can serve as entry points for fungal infections. 

If you require any further information please call Naturally Trees on 9970 6332 or 0417 250 420.

 

 

 

Lantana bug

Lantana Bug infestation.