The plant bugs are the largest family of all the true bugs (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005). Among the nearly 2000 North American species, one of the most common is the tarnished plant bug (Hemiptera: Miridae: Lygus lineolaris). Highly successful as a generalist herbivore, these bugs are known to feed on the sap from over half the cultivated plant species in the United States (Capinera 2001). It’s often a serious pest of commercial legumes, vegetables, and flowers (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).
I found this individual in a local greenhouse, basking in the warmth from the early autumn sun. The greenhouse hosted various flower and vegetable plants earlier in the year. In close proximity were both crop plants (especially soybeans) and a wide variety of trees in a mesic hardwood forest. I can only imagine the smorgasbord this pest enjoyed throughout the year. With winter fast approaching, this adult was probably looking for a comfortable spot to overwinter.
Capinera, J.L. 2001. Handbook of Vegetable Pests. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson. 2005. Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects. Seventh Edition. Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.