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The Common Green Shield Bug

Updated on May 15, 2016
An adult Palomena prasina - own photo
An adult Palomena prasina - own photo

No pest, no beneficial, just a guest in your garden

Palomena prasina, or common green shield bug (Order: Hemiptera; Family: Pentatomidae), belongs to the most important family of shield bug. From above they are mostly rounded or more or less oval shaped, whereas from side-view the back surface is somewhat flattened, and the underside somewhat convex. They are bright green in colour, but in late autumn the adults turn brown before going into hibernation.

In April to May their colour changes back to green before they 'wake up' from hibernation.

P. prasina lives on a great variety of trees and shrubs and other vegetation. - Females lay their round, yellow eggs in clusters on leaves.


Newly-hatched larvae of the common green shiels bug


The newly-hatched larvae are yellow at first, but within a few hours turn black to the front and brown to the rear. They remain clustered on their egg shells for several days, feeding from the eggs' surfaces. With this behaviour, they infest themselves with the necessary symbiotic bacteria which the mother smeared on the eggs as she laid them.

After the first moult, the brown colour turns green and the larvae begin to feed from the plant. - Later, they also loose the black front and become completely

Photo Marlies Vaz Nunes - all rights reserved

The common green shield bug loves warm summers

This bug likes especially warm summers and dry winters, and warm summers in particular can cause their numbers to increase dramatically: we found them on almost every kind of plant in the garden at the end of the long hot summer of 1995 in southern England.

Like its relatives, this bug is well-known for its ability to produce foul-smelling volatile secretions. These secretions are produced by adults as well as larvae to repel their enemies, and are left everywhere they go. For this reason they are also known as stinkbugs.

Not damaging, but fruit may become faul

In spite of their sometimes large numbers and the fact that they suck plant sap, P. prasina does not cause much damage. However, they also like to suck on soft fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries. Their stinking excretion renders the fruits smelly and gives them a bad taste.

The tachinid fly Phasia hemiptera
The tachinid fly Phasia hemiptera | Source

Natural enemies of the common green shield bug

Adult shield bugs can be parasitised by tachinid flies (Order: Diptera; Family: Tachinidae), especially by Phasia Hemiptera. These flies are medium to large in size and many look like bristly houseflies. The adults feed on nectar and other plant exudates, and some species also feed on honeydew. Females lay a single egg inside or on the surface of the bug.

The newly-hatched maggots, which like all maggots are legless, hatch within a short time, and burrow inside to feed on the juices in the body cavity of the host. Later, in their third and final stage, the maggots also eat solid materials of the host. They leave through a split between the segments of the host's abdomen, at which stage the host is of course already dead. The maggots immediately burrow into the soil to pupate.

Treatment of the common green shield bug

There is nothing specific that can be done against the green shield bug which, luckily, is hardly damaging anyway. The best one can do is to attract tachinid flies by growing flat-topped open flowers, such as daisies, sweet clover, dill, or parsley.

What do you think of this harmless creature?

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    • Thomas Ferriere profile image

      Thomas Ferriere 3 years ago

      Thanks for sharing. My son is crazy about insects, i will show him tomorrow.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      Is it really harmless, if it sucks on fruits and they go bad? I wonder if banty chickens wouldn't eat them. You've done a good job of displaying the critters.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very interesting topic. I grow up at the garden and love anyone of them.

    • minpinmojo76 profile image

      minpinmojo76 4 years ago

      Insects are just fascinating. Nice to see someone not hating on them, haha. Interesting lens.

    • josietook profile image

      josietook 4 years ago

      Interesting lens. Great photos!!

    • chris-lee-benson profile image

      chris-lee-benson 4 years ago

      Thanks for this lens, I didn't know a lot of this.

    • profile image

      idealshedplans 4 years ago

      I have seen this insect many times in the past, but had no idea if it was really a pest or not, great job

    • marktplaatsshop profile image

      marktplaatsshop 4 years ago

      A great lens, did not know what kind of bug it was but see them often in my garden.

    • marlies vaz nunes profile image

      Marlies Vaz Nunes 4 years ago from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

      @Route27: Thank you!

    • Route27 profile image

      Route27 4 years ago

      I'm not really into bugs and I never heard of the green shield bug but the was a very informative article. Nice pictures too.

    • Alan Katz profile image

      Alan Katz 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for this lens. I didn't know a lot of this.

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      Beneficial bugs are so welcome, get rid of the flies!

    • marlies vaz nunes profile image

      Marlies Vaz Nunes 4 years ago from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

      @lgOlson: Yes, stinkbug is another name for them. They do stink!

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 5 years ago

      i like them, they come in many colors

    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 4 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I just flicked one of these off my arm yesterday while out pruning dead branches. I always called them stinkbugs, and remember as a kid spitting out raspberries that one had stunk up. Nice to finally learn about these harmless guys. Thanks!

    • PeterStip profile image

      PeterStip 5 years ago

      Great informative lens. If you find a solution for the little green bugs let me know, They are ruining all are tomatoes. After the snails, they are enemy number one for our organic garden.

    • Rosaquid profile image

      Rosaquid 5 years ago

      This is interesting! Thanks for sharing.

    • marlies vaz nunes profile image

      Marlies Vaz Nunes 5 years ago from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

      @MartieG: You 'get' tachinid flies by 'inviting' them to your garden. How? As I wrote: grow flat-topped flowers. ;-)

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      If this is your everyday 'stinkbug' I'd love to know how to get rid of them!! I know-get some tachinid flies - but where? -- Seriously- very good lens :>)

    • marlies vaz nunes profile image

      Marlies Vaz Nunes 5 years ago from Amsterdam, the Netherlands

      @TreasuresBrenda: Haven't you? They are very common.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      Interesting, I'm not sure I've ever heard of this Green Shield Bug.