Helopeltis sp. are also known as tea mosquito or mirid bugs.
Description of adult
Adults are 6.5–8.5mm long, dark brown to reddish brown but with an orange thorax. There is a dark pin-like protrusion from the centre of the thorax. The legs are long and fragile, resembling those of a mosquito.
The eggs are white and elongated and about 1mm long. Later instar nymphs are similar in appearance to the adults, although wingless and orange-brown in colour. Legs are spindly and black.
The eggs are laid in plant tissue singly or in small groups. The stems and petioles of young leaves are the main oviposition sites. Eggs take about a week to hatch. Nymphs feed on young leaves and shoots, or other developing plant parts. There are 5 nymphal instars, with a total development period of 10–16 days. Adults can live for several weeks, and females may lay 30–50 eggs during this time.
Northern Queensland, but the distribution is poorly known.
Cocoa, tea, cashew, avocado, mango, guava, passionfruit and sweetpotato.
Helopeltis are a serious and spasmodic pest of cashews. Their sucking activities result in young leaves of cashews becoming distorted with lesions along the main veins. Bunched terminal growth develops after severe attack. Developing apples and nuts can show brown sunken spots. Damage is easily confused with that of the fruit-spotting bugs.
Examine 5 trees at 6 widely spaced locations throughout the crop. Spray when damage is first noticed on developing fruit.
Green tree ants, once established in an orchard and correctly managed, can suppress Helopeltis damage. Take care with green tree ants as they can also become a pest, especially in wet environments. The ants have symbiotic relationships with sap sucking honeydew-producing insects such as mealy bug and scale. Green tree ants may also cause problems due to aggressive behaviour toward beneficial insects and fruit pickers at harvest.
Prompt spray application is required to prevent serious damage.
Chemical registrations and permits
Check the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority database for chemicals registered or approved under permit to treat this pest on the target crop in your location. Always read the label and observe withholding periods.
- Last reviewed: 19 Oct 2022
- Last updated: 19 Oct 2022