Nesidiocoris tenuis,

(Tomato bug)

Nesidiocoris tenuis is a voracious predator of whitefly, mites, thrips, aphids, and eggs/young larvae of lepidopterans and other pests on tomato crops. When N. tenuis runs out of prey, it feeds on the plant and becomes a serious pest.

N. tenuis is a widely distributed species ranging from Mediterranean regions, North Africa, North, South and Central America, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. Plant damage from N. tenuis damage ranges from necrotic rings in stems and petioles, reduced vegetative growth and dropped, punctured fruit, resulting in reduced yield.


N.tenuis adults are approximately 6-10 mm in length. They are bright green in colour with striped antenna and bulging brown/ black eyes. Adults possess black spots on their otherwise clear wings and differ from other mirids as they have a black band at the back of the eyes. The nymphs are approximately 1-5 mm in length and are yellow/ greenish in colour. The nymphs do not fly and do not possess black spots and bands present on the adults.

At 25°C a generation can be completed within two weeks. Approximately 60-80 eggs are laid per female within plant tissue. Nymphs can be located on the underside of leaves. Adults are considered strong fliers in warm weather.
Host plants of N. tenuis include but are not limited to tomato, cucumber, sweet pepper, yellow squash, sesame, potato, tobacco and aubergine.

Nature of Damage
  • When tenuis prey availability becomes low or infrequent this once important biological control agent turns into a pest by resorting to feeding on plant tissue
  • Nymphs and adults feed on stems, petioles, flowers and fruits. Brown and necrotic rings occur where feeding takes place
  • The plant tissue beyond the feeding area often dies, leading to yellow leaves and lost growing points
  • Damaged flower stalks become yellow and swollen beyond the ‘knuckling-off’ point. This causes premature fruit drop, producing incomplete trusses
Pheromone for Nesidiocoris tenuis (Tomato bug)

Russell IPM manufacture and supply pheromone lures, traps and complete monitoring systems for tomato bugs, Nesidiocoris tenuis. Regular monitoring through use of pheromone traps gives early warning of the infestation and also exhibits the density of the insect population to inform successful IPM strategies.

Data and Interpretation

Collect data weekly from the start of monitoring. During the height of the population more frequent reading may be needed. Decisions on pesticide application should not be taken solely on the trap catch data. Climatic and biological considerations should be taken in account.