Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 49


Frank Screen

One of the advantages of having an untidy garden is that it is a haven for wildlife. It has also been an organic garden for over 15 years and I am sure that has added to the number of insects, birds, and over 30 species of wild plants (weeds!) that can be found in it. For several years now I have had Green Shieldbugs Palomena prasina, Dock Bugs Coreus marginatus, Sloe Bugs Dolycoris baccarum and Speckled bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima breeding in the garden and this year I witnessed Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus paired on bramble. My Shieldbugs of Surrey states that gorse is the host plant for this shieldbug. However on 21st April I spotted a Gorse Shieldbug with its rostrum in a cultivated lily leaf. Plants belonging to the Leguminacae (including gorse) all appear to be acceptable to the Gorse Shieldbug and I do have plenty of Common Vetch Vicea sativa ss sativa growing in the garden.

My first shieldbug sighting this year was on 28th March when six Gorse Shieldbugs, two of whom were paired, were spotted on bramble. This was closely followed by paired Green Shieldbugs on bramble on 4th April. I have only ever found the eggs of the Green Shieldbug and this year they were spotted on the underside of a rhubarb leaf on 5th May and on the underside of a Buddleia leaf on 4th August. Both lots of eggs plus the first instar nymphs were photographed. In previous years I have seen and photographed paired Sloe Bugs normally on dandelion seed heads sometime in May. However this year my dandelions grew in a shaded area of the garden and did not attract any Sloe Bugs. The first Sloe Bug of the year was spotted on Buddleia on 11th April.

Gorse Shieldbug Piezodurus lituratus Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus

An exciting first for me this year was the sighting of a Bishop’s Mitre Aelia acuminata on cultivated lily foliage on 15th April and again on bramble on the 22nd May. A Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus was attracted to the lounge window at 9pm on 2nd September and was photographed the following day. In September there were plenty of sightings of both Green Shieldbug and Dock Bugs feeding on ripe and unripe blackberries. Late in September 2nd instar Green Shieldbugs were still being seen. Will they survive to adulthood? On 30th September a Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale was found on a yellow towel hanging on the clothes line.

All the above were sightings without the aid of a sweep net but having an intimate knowledge of your own ‘patch’ does prove very helpful.

Green shieldbug eggs Green shieldbug eggs & newly-hatched nymphs
Green shieldbug eggs and 1st instar nymphs Green shieldbug 5th instar nymph
All photos by Frank Screen


HAWKINS RD. 2003. Shieldbugs of Surrey. Surrey Wildlife Trust
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