Tomato mirid bug (Nesidiocoris tenuis)
It is slender, greenish in colour with a dark brown tint on the forewings. Eggs are laid singly on the growing points, petioles and stems of the tomato plant. The young bugs (nymphs) resemble the adults, but initially have no wings. Older nymphs have wing pads. The tomato bug feed on stems, leaves and flowers of tomatoes, but prefer young leaves and growing points. Sucking by nymphs and adults results in the formation of brownish rings on stems, petioles, growing points and leaf veins, which become brittle. Repeated feeding by the bugs cause crinkling (rolling, puckering and unevenness) of leaves.
Attacked stem bases become swollen with narrow brownish rings at the apices of the swollen areas. Shedding of flowers may be partly due to feeding by this bug. Other major crops attacked include eggplant, sesame and bottle gourds. The tomato bug also exhibits predatory habits, and has been reported preying on other insect pests, such as aphids, jassids (leafhoppers), caterpillars and whiteflies. It has been identified as an important predator of eggs and young caterpillars of the African bollworm and a potential control agent of whiteflies in Europe. This bug was found frequently and in large numbers on tomatoes, throughout NE and NW Somalia (Seif et al. 2003). It has also been reported as a tomato pest in Ghana (Youdeowei, 2002). In Kenya, large numbers of this bug have been observed in tomato fields under heavy and frequent spraying of synthetic pyrethroids.
- Inspect crops for nymphs and adults feeding on buds, developing flowers and leaves, and for signs of bug feeding, including discoloured spots, necrosis, stunting, and early fall of flowers and fruits.
- Avoid volunteer crops.
- Assure proper disposal of crop residues.
- Avoid indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum pesticides