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What are the smelly bugs on my citrus, and will they harm it? PDF Print E-mail

Bronze orange bug, Musgraveia sulciventris, also known as stink bugs, is a sap sucking pest on citrus trees, including native citrus. Bronze orange bug targets new shoots and severe infestations can cause significant damage to stem tips leading to fruit drop.

Eggs are laid on plants during summer. Young nymphs are flat, about 6mm long and because they are camouflaged green are easily missed. They are usually discovered as a result of their foul odour. This is caused when they squirt an irritating compound to deter predators. This can cause severe irritation to mucous membranes and eyes.

As bronze orange bugs mature they reach 25mm long and their colour slowly darkens through brown to almost black. They tend to cluster together on shoot tips and tree bases during hot weather, which is when recognition is easiest.

Control

  • Hand pick (or use long tongs) bronze orange bugs and place them in a bucket of soapy water until drowned. As a safety precaution, wear goggles and gloves before handling them;
  • Vacuum bronze orange bugs off citrus and empty them into a bucket of either soapy or scalding water. As a safety precaution, wear goggles and gloves before handling them;

Supporting strategies

  • Feed citrus during winter and summer to reduce the production of soft, sappy growth which is preferred by bronze orange bug;
  • Avoid over watering citrus, which also stimulates soft, sappy growth;
 
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