28 Sep 2016
Wildlife Wednesday: picturing Palomena
Common Green Shield Bugs (Palomena prasina) are regular garden inhabitants in the southern part of the UK but are very very good at hiding thanks to their brilliant camouflage colours. On seeing this one - because it crawled on my hand as I squeezed the scented leaves of a huge 'Attar of Roses' pelargonium planted outside - I immediately thought, "Where's Wally?" Remember those books? I could never find Wally with his red and white striped hat and jumper among all the hundreds of other people in the cartoon. I carefully manoeuvred this little guy off my hand and back onto the plant - although they're sap sucking insects, they don't do any significant damage in the garden so it's okay to let them be.
Their relatives, the Southern Green Shield Bug, on the other hand, will be found on runner and french beans and, as I found out the summer before last, on tomatoes. I had the immature bugs across my entire crop in the warm summer of 2014. They didn't appear to do much damage, just the occasional nibble into my fruits.
Apparently both types of Shield Bugs (known as stink bugs in the US) are gradually moving northwards to colonise gardens in the Midlands and beyond as our weather becomes more temperate. They're regular visitors to my veg patch - do you see them where you live?