Improved management of Rutherglen bug in the Northern Region

by Hazel Parry

GRDC project code CSP2104-007RTX

Rutherglen bug Nysius vinitor (Hemiptera: Orsillidae) is a small, fast-moving bug that builds up to high numbers during the warmer months.  If it gathers on seedlings, the feeding can result in plant dehydration and death.  At harvest, seed damage and contamination can lead to economic losses.  The sudden appearance of this pest is problematic, but very little is currently known about the landscape ecology of this pest besides that it can be found on a wide variety of plant hosts (including many weed species).

This new project is a collaboration between CSIRO, UQ and DRNSW, and commenced in July 2021.  During this project, the researchers will focus on understanding how Rutherglen bug populations may persist in the local environment or why they might suddenly appear in crops, update management guidelines to minimise the effects of early- and late-season infestations, and provide a risk framework to predict likely infestation from both locally emerged and migratory populations.

The project team are asking agronomists and consultants to take part in Rutherglen Bug monitoring during the summer cropping season in 2021 and 2022, to provide outbreak sightings and genetic samples. The community’s help will be an important part of the work.

CLICK HERE to register Rutherglen Bug sightings and be part of our current ‘citizen science’ data collection initiative.  If you are already seeing quite a few bugs out in the field, you might like to also CLICK HERE to register for a sampling kit to help us collect Rutherglen bugs for DNA analysis.

Links to extra information:

Parry, H. R., Marcora, A., Macfadyen, S., Hopkinson, J., Hulthen, A. D., Neave, M., Bianchi, F. J. J. A., Franzmann, B. A., Lloyd, R. J., Miles, M., Zalucki, M. P., and Schellhorn, N. A. 2019, A native with a taste for the exotic: weeds and pasture provide year‐round habitat for Nysius vinitor (Hemiptera: Orsillidae) across Australia, with implications for area‐wide management. Austral Entomology, 58: 237– 247.

Moradi‐Vajargah, M., and Parry, H. R. 2017, Environmental and biological drivers of flight initiation in a sporadic pest, Rutherglen bug, Nysius vinitor Bergroth (Hemiptera: Orsillidae). Austral Entomology, 56: 225– 234.

An infestation of Rutherglen bug on Canola during summer (Photo supplied by Zorica Duric DRNSW)