…..this was seen on the Parish Walk on 27th September so we said that we would find out about it!
The name shield bug is due to the shield shape of the adult insects when seen from above. It is native to Britain and is of widespread occurrence, especially in southern England A fully grown common green shield bug (Palomena prasina) can be up to 10mm long. It is bright green and stippled with tiny black dots in spring and summer, but changes to greeny-bronze in autumn.
They are often seen basking in the sun in late summer on a wide variety of plants.
The native common green shield bug is harmless although sometimes mistaken for beetles, shield bugs belong to a different group of insects, the Hemiptera. They feed by sucking sap from a wide range of plants but generally cause no noticeable damage to cultivated plants, even when numerous. Adult shield bugs hibernate in grass tussocks or leaf litter and emerge in May.
It is sometimes called a green stink bug as it produces a pungent odour from special glands if handled or disturbed.
It eats plant sap and leaves of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
In 2003, another species of shield bug, the southern green shield bug (Nezara viridula) was found for the first time breeding in the London area. This recent arrival from elsewhere in Europe is slightly larger than the native green shield bug. The adults are uniformly green and lack the dark area at the rear end of the body. This species can cause damage to some vegetables, especially runner and French beans, but whether it will become established to the extent that it becomes a pest remains to be seen! At the moment it appears that it does not become numerous until late summer or early autumn, by which time beans are coming to the end of their cropping period.