Capsid Bug, Leaf Bug, Shield Bug
The Miridae is an extensive family of true bugs. They possess a variety of common names, some of these include leaf, grass and plant bugs. There is extreme diversity within the group, especially with regards to colour and shape. The common green capsid, Lygocoris pabulinus, are bright green whereas the red capsid bug, Deraeocorus ruber, is black and red with distinctive markings. When these bugs feed, a toxic component of the saliva is injected back into the plant. This can sometimes cause new growth to become malformed. Although most species are herbivorous, there are some predatory species which feed upon smaller insects.
Feeding can cause flower deformities.
A food resource for birds and small mammals.
Adults: These bugs can be extremely diverse. Generally, they are around 5-8mm in size and look as if they have small shields on their backs! They have six legs, often long antennae, and can vary from green to brown, to bronze, to tan, to red, yellow and black. Some species have patterning on the wing cases too. Nymphs: Similar to adults but are smaller in size with dotted markings, and they lack wings. The nymphs look surprisingly beetle-like.
Suck the sap from plant foliage. Feeding may cause leaves to dry out, and new growth can tear forming holes that are brown around the edges. Some bugs feed exclusively on fruit trees and sometimes cause small brown bumps or growths to form on the fruits. Some species can spread disease from feeding.
By removing any dead vegetation from your garden during the winter you can disturb or remove any overwintering bugs. Sometimes the presence of these insects should be tolerated. It's quite often their damage isn't noticed until it's too late. Damage only tends to be minor.
Shoot tips are most susceptible to infestation during May onwards. Regular inspection of shoots is advised. If the damage is significant then pesticides can be applied to the specific area of damage. There are chemicals available that can treat these bugs. Its been advised to consult with your local garden centre, research, and read labels carefully prior to application of chemicals. Many chemical treatments are non-specific, so can indirectly harm other wildlife. Plants in flower should never be sprayed.