Piesma quadratum Fieber Beet leaf bug

This locally distributed species is a potentially important pest of sugar beet in parts of continental Europe where, in addition to causing a pale mottling of infested foliage, it is also a vector of beet leaf crinkle virus (a disease not found in the British Isles). In the British Isles, this insect is associated mainly with wild Chenopodiaceae, e.g. Atrlplex littoralis, Beta vulgaris and Halimione portulacoides, growing along the coast of East Anglia.

BIOLOGY

Adults overwinter in sheltered field margins, hedgerows and other similar situations. They reappear in the spring and then migrate to host plants where, eventually, eggs are laid. The eggs hatch about 2 weeks later. Nymphs then feed on the leaves for about 6 weeks before moulting into adults, usually from July onwards. In favourable situations there may be at least a partial second generation.

DESCRIPTION

Adult 2.5-3.5 mm long, grey to brownish or greenish; body flattened and with distinctive lace-like punctures dorsally; jorewings with a lace-like, punctate pattern (see Fig. 23); head with a pair of horn-like projections between the antennae (see Fig. 22); eyes red and prominent; pronotum with three longitudinal ridges anteriorly (cf. Piesma maculatum, below). Egg elongate-oval, yellowish-brown. Nymph yellow when freshly emerged, gradually becoming greener or browner.

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