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Management of the Mullein Bug, Campylomma verbasci (Heteroptera: Miridae), in Pome Fruit Orchards of Canada
Editor(s): Oscar Alomar; Robert N. Wiedenmann
Author(s): H.M.A. Thistlewood, R. F. Smith
Print Publication Date: 1996

A case study is presented of the mullein bug, Campylomma verbasci (Meyer), in and around Canadian pome fruit orchards. It has 2–4 generations per year, depending upon region and weather, and overwinters in the egg stage in bark. The eggs hatch near apple bloom, and 1st- generation nymphs and adults prey on small arthropods in the trees or suck plant juices. Injury to flowers or small fruit of sensitive cultivars arises from feeding punctures of the nymphs on apple or (rarely) pear in a short period during and after bloom. Some of the injured fruit is shed during the season but the remainder of the crop can be partially or completely downgraded or rejected at harvest. Most of the population moves onto herbaceous hosts in summer months, primarily onto mullein. Verbascum thapsus L., and are sometimes found on solanaceous crops or nursery trees. They feed on aphids, mites, thrips, pear psylla, and plant juices and are beneficial predators in and around orchards for the remainder of the year, particularly on pear. Management of C. verbasci in apple orchards is based upon annual monitoring of populations of nymphs in sensitive cultivars, estimating population density, decision-making using economic thresholds, and insecticide treatment where required. Current research is aimed at a better understanding of the factors governing the mode of feeding of C. verbasci, differences in seasonal abundance between orchards under diverse management systems, development of predictive systems to minimize the intensive sampling and risk of damage each spring, and determining the value of novel management techniques, including pheromone-based mating disruption and manipulation of density of alternate plant hosts or animal prey.

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