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?


15 comments:

  1. I get lots of those in my garden too - they are unfortunately more common than Ladybirds these days!

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    1. I haven't seen too many of these this year but the ladybird numbers have been down too, as far as I can tell. Lots of ladybird larvae and pupae though, so maybe the weather or hungry birds have slowed things down a bit.

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  2. I often see them on the plot, usually the green ones and occasionally a reddish-brown Sloe Bug. Flighty xx

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    1. Ooh, I haven't heard of Sloe Bugs before. I've just looked them up and am now quite glad not to have seen any - especially as they excrete a substance which makes raspberries inedible! Have you had that problem on your plot, Flighty?

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  3. I always seem to have lots on my raspberries, but as you say they don't damage them. Great photo, far nicer than Where's Wally! CJ xx

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    1. I've just looked up Sloe Bugs as Flighty mentioned that he sees those on his plot and they sound quite nasty in terms of ruining berry crops. I don't seem to have had that problem with my raspberries so perhaps the green shield bugs are not quite so bad. Let's hope that we don't have to find out!! Cxx

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  4. Loads here too. I'm wondering why they're called Stink bugs?

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    1. Allegedly their defence mechanism is to emit a foul smelling substance but I've never experienced this and have handled plenty of them in my time. Must have been bad press for just the one then ...

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    1. And do you notice a difference in the taste, Sue? See comment above re Sloe Bugs! I've noticed a few on my raspberries but they've moved onto the geraniums now where they're better camouflaged. Interesting that they're supposed to be less common in the north but perhaps the whole of the UK is getting slightly warmer. (A fortnight ago I was in Leeds and it was much warmer there than London!)

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    2. Thety din't seem tomake any difference to the raspberries. I've found them on the blackberries too.

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  6. Thay do blend in well don't they? We have lots around here too.xxx

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    1. I had lots of the Southern Green Shield bugs a couple of years back - their young have the most beautiful markings, like Zulu warrior shields! I'm happy to have them in my garden! xx

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  7. Yes we do have them in our garden occasionly. I too could never find Wally! Sarah x

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  8. I have never seen one in Buxton! The "joy" of it being really, really cold!!! Glorious colour, I shall watch out if they are heading my way!!! X

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