Red Cotton Bug
Class – Insecta
Order – Hemiptera
Family – Pyrrhocoridae
Genus – Dysdercus
Species – cingulatus = koenigii (Fab)
The red cotton bug is widespread; it is a minor pest in northern India’s cotton-growing regions, particularly Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. This pest is found throughout Maharashtra, but it is of minor importance. It is commonly referred to as a “cotton stainer.”
Cotton, ambadi, hollyhock, bhendi and several other malvaceous plants.
- The adult bug measures about 12-15 mm in length. The females are longer (15 mm) than the males (12 mm). It is blood red in colour except for eyes, scutellum, anal, antennae which are black coloured.
- Besides, each of the membranous forewings has a black spot. On the ventral side of the abdomen, there are a series of white transverse bands.
- Mouthparts are adapted for piercing and sucking. They form a straight beak or rostrum. The nymphs are wingless and smaller than adults.
- During the spring, the mature female lays 70-80 eggs in clusters under the moist soil surface, fallen leaves, and crevices. The eggs are spherical, yellowish-white about 1.2 mm in length.
- After 7 days of incubation and moist weather, eggs hatch into active 1 mm long red nymphs that resemble adults except for size and the lack of wings. The nymphs feed gregariously on the cotton bolls.
- The nymphs undergo 5 moults within 49-89 days to reach the adult stage.
- In winter, the life of the adult is about three months but in summer it is varied. From August to November, the pest breeds on cotton; from December to the middle of March, it seeks refuge under leaves or debris; and from April to July, it feeds on bhendi.
- The life cycle of the bug is completed within six to eight weeks.