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  • St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer - (Dysdercus andreae)

    St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer - (Dysdercus andreae)

    Originally a pest of cotton plants, St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer has moved on to another important cash crop in the sunshine state.

    Staff Writer (8/11/2017): St. Andrew's Cotton Stainers are a type of Red Bug known for marking or staining the fruit it feeds on. The torso has a white diagonal, or tilted cross, like that of St. Andrew on the Scottish flag. Its bright red body has black wing tips, two black spots in the middle of the body near the center of the cross, and a black triangle near the pronotum ('shoulders') smudged with red in its center. Nymphs are commonly seen with adults on the same plant and have a plump abdomen with white lines running across it. Each white line has a tiny black dot on the midline of the insect.

    Historically, Cotton Stainers attacked young cotton bolls, which left to mature become the tufts of cotton that is harvested from cotton plants in order to make fabric and cotton balls. Their feeding habits streaked the young white cotton a yellowish brown color that never washed out. This staining ruined harvests on a grand scale, establishing the genus as an agricultural pest. This species can cause young cotton bolls to stain and remain small in size. Both nymphs and adults groups pierce fruit with their beaks and drink the juices inside. They are increasingly seen on fruit trees and may be to blame for orange drop, a consequence of their feeding on oranges which results in the fruit completely falling off the tree the same day. Spraying soapy water on affected plants may deter them and removing weeds, debris and other hiding places on the ground removes their winter shelters.

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    Details of the:
    St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer

    Category: True Bug
    Common name: St. Andrew's Cotton Stainer
    Scientific Name: Dysdercus andreae

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hemiptera
          Family: Pyrrhocoreidae
           Genus: Dysdercus
            Species: andreae

    Size (Adult, Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31in to 0.47in)

    Identifying Colors: red, black, white

    Additional Descriptors: oranges, drop, cross, diagonal, triangle, dots, smear, stain, flying, pest, harmful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Florida

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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