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NC State Extension

Damsel Bug

    • Common Name: Damsel Bug
    • General Category: Beneficial Predator
    • Taxonomic Classification: Hemiptera: Nabidae
    • Scientific Name: Nabis roseipennis

Description

This is the most abundant and most commonly encountered of the damsel bugs in the southeast United States. Their delicate appearance belies their ability as predators of a variety of insects in a variety of crops. Like all true bugs (Hemiptera) these predators have a beak.Damsel bug adult

Damsel bug nymph

Identification

Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.

Adults

Cone-shaped body. Many short, parallel veins at the wing tips is characteristic of all damsel bugs. The tibia of front legs is enlarged, apparently for grasping prey. A long, curved beak under a small head that has googly eyes. Somewhat drab, mottled tan, brown, and grey color. Superficially these appear to be small assassin bugs, but they are quite distinct (see a comparison).

Nymphs

No wings, but may have wing pads in older nymphs where the wings are developing. Beaks like adults. The overall shape is somewhat like an ice-cream cone. Mottled brown in color.

Value in Pest Management

These true bugs can be quite abundant in crop fields (especially soybeans) and likely contribute significantly to natural control of a variety of plant feeding insects. While there are no studies that demonstrate an ability to economically control pests, they are considered important predators of caterpillars in soybeans and may contribute to pest population regulation if abundant. They are not sold commercially.

Origin and Distribution

Native, throughout North America.

Discover Life – Nabis roseipennis

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