The crusader bug (Mictis profana) is commonly found in Australia and neighbouring countries, in urban and agricultural areas, coastal heath, forests and woodlands. They feed on a wide range of plants, including wattles, eucalypts and garden plants (e.g. roses). Cultivated crops affected by crusader bugs include citrus, beans, tomatoes and papaw.
Adults and nymphs prefer to feed on new shoots. They use their sucking mouthparts to pierce new shoots and extract sap. Feeding causes the damaged tissue to wilt and die. They are active all year, except winter.
Eggs: Seed-like, large, elongated and brown, with a rounded lid.
Immatures: Nymphs are dark brown/black and do not have a cross. There are five nymphal stages – nymphs are smaller than the adult with a red abdomen when very young (first instar). Older nymphs have orange spots in the middle of the abdomen.
Adults: The adult bug is 20-25mm long and 7-10 mm wide. They are easily recognized by a brown body with a diagonal pale yellow cross on the back and orange tips at the end of its antennae. Males have enlarged rear legs compared to other legs.
The complete life cycle takes 8 weeks in summer and they have 3-4 generations per year. The insects can release an unpleasant odour if disturbed.
For further information please refer to the Pest ID Tool at: https://www.pestid.com.au/
Note that the Pest ID tool is now available with free access to industry.
An initiative of the Nursery Levy funded National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program (NY15004) and ‘Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry’ Project (NY15002).