Ever see those little dots on your mums, Coreopsis and many other landscape perennials? You might have thought they were disease spots but they were caused by a little insect called the four lined plant bug.

This insect feeds by eating into the surface layer of the leaf with their rounded mouth part. As they feed, they inject a phytotoxic (plant tissue killing) saliva that kills the tissue and it turns brown.

Four lined plant bugs are shy and will scurry under nearby leaves to hide if they hear you approaching. You might have to quietly stand for a few minutes watching the plant to see them come into sight.

You could spray these critters with insecticidal soap IF you are patient enough to watch for them and get the spray directly on them. Remember that soap products work by melting the waxy coating on the outside of the insect so they do not good if they are just applied to the leaf surface.

The more common approach is to spray the plants with an insecticide labeled for four lined plant bug.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.

Types of Insects

"Name That Bug Page"

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