European striped shield bug (italicum)

Many European striped shield bugs, also known as Graphosoma lineatum italicum, just appeared on our dill plants! European striped shield bugs get between 8 and 12 mm in length as adults. They are covered in black and red stripes on their backs and on their bellies they are red with black dots. The antennae are black and are in sections. This insect occurs in the entire Mediterranean sea and prefers hot and dry areas. Recently, it has been moving further north to Germany and Belgium, there is no proof yet of it being present in the UK, however, it was recently found in the USA, it is also present in Australia. European striped shield bugs love meadows a lot and that is probably why it was in our garden, which is blooming with high flowers and plants. Between June and October, they can be found in all life stages and between October to around May the adults hibernate and therefore are very rarely found. European striped shield bugs are relatives to the green stink bugs, but luckily they aren’t damaging our tomatoes! These insects apart from tasting very bad to birds, smell a bit like apples! They are often found on Apiaceae, like here, such as dill. Luckily for us, dill has a special adaption that makes it chemically protected. When we were trying to take pictures of it, a few of them started flying into my mummy and me, as soon as we moved away they went back to their business and didn’t bother us if we didn’t bother them. However, when we came back they started driving us away again and raising their wings on the side, as you can see in one of the pictures! It was actually quite cute how they were interacting and tell us off!

Nika Strok Underwood

© 2023 Teens and Friends United