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Mullein plant bug

Campylomma verbasci (Meyer)
Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Miridae

The adult is grayish green with black spots on the legs (A). The nymph (B) resembles an apple aphid or a white apple leafhopper, and is solitary, very mobile, and lacks cornicles.

Distribution

Most fruit-growing states and provinces in eastern North America.

Damage

Attacks apple mainly, particularly Red and Golden Delicious, Spartan, Yellow Transparent, Northern Spy, Empire, and Melba. Nymphs puncture the epidermis of developing flowers or young fruitlets. Damage first appears as reddish "pimples" (C), which become raised, corky, brown or black wart-like blemishes as the fruit expands. Fruit deformities can result in severe cases. Though sporadic, this pest can cause extensive crop damage. In varieties and growing conditions where nymph hatch does not correspond with the occurrence of a susceptible fruit stage, mullein plant bug is regarded as a predator.

Similar Species

Nymphs of apple brown bug, Atractotomus mali (Meyer), occur on buds and fruitlets at the same time and cause similar damage, but they are mahogany brown, have enlarged 2nd antennal segments, and are slightly larger than mullein plant bugs at this time (D).

Management

In varieties and growing conditions where nymphs hatch before fruitlets are large enough to resist feeding damage, an insecticide can be used during the pink bud stage or at petal fall.

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