Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Shield bugs and Border Terriers

My garden is abundant with one particular bumbling, ungraceful and generally irritating insect: the common green shield bug (Palomena prasina).  It is easily identified as it is usually found flying at your head, swimming in your drink  or in this case sunning itself on your gardening gloves. 

 In all seriousness shield bugs are often seen as garden pests but the truth of the matter is that they very rarely cause any damage in the garden.  They are more of an irritant to the gardener than to the plants.  Yes, they suck sap but never to the extent where plants suffer too much.  It's cousin the Southern green shield bug is a different matter.  Although similar looking it's larger and lacks the brown patch on the back.  It's also quite damaging to plants.

They are however great dog entertainment.  My Border Terrier Maggie is fascinated with them.  Apparently when startled shield bugs give of a scent similar to Almonds.  I'm yet to experience this, admittedly I don't go around sniffing shieldbugs, but maybe Maggie is a closet bug sniffer?  Lets face it it's likely to be more appealing than sniffing other things.


  1. Ryan,
    We have a relative, imported from Asia a number of years ago, by a man in Allentown, Pennsylvania. If has now traveled many miles from Allentown, and promises to extend its range. No pesticides that you would allow anywere near your house can hurt it.

    This shield bug (we call it "stink bug") comes into our houses for the winter. It does no harm, doesn't bite, but it's a terrible nuisance and it you dare touch it, you will regret the result: a smell, possibly like almonds but 5,000 times stronger (it's awful), and very difficult to wash off. I HATE them.

  2. Maggie is adorable.
    May she sniff bugs until her sniffer wears out.

  3. OMG, Maggie is so cute! You should know that posting a photo of your dog will completely distract us from the subject you started with...

  4. Hi Ryan,

    Not sure if that is the same bug that also has a rather long proboscis that is used to suck the life out of caterpillars... if not the same similar to one that I have sadly found sipping the life juices of monarch caterpillars. I have to agree with Kim and Victoria ... Maggie is adorable.

  5. Love your dog... I've just come back from Wales and wished I could have spent longer in Snowdonia... Love your blog, just found you on Blotanical!


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