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Campylomma, (Mullein plant bug), can be a pest during the bloom period when it feeds on young developing fruit. However, it is a beneficial predaceous insect that is valuable in control of soft bodied insects throughout the rest of year. DAS predicts the phenology of Campylomma during the spring, but beating tray samples need to be taken before and during the spring bloom period to determine if Campylomma is present and whether treatment is necessary.



Provisional action thresholds for Golden Delicious and Cameo is 1 nymph/tap for Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith 2 nymphs/tap and for Red Delicious 4 nymphs/tap. Spray timing is the key factor in preventing damage by Campylomma applications must be timed at pink or bloom to prevent damage; a petal fall application is too late. Pesticide recommendations are listed on DAS.

The adult is green-brown, elongated oval in shape, and about 1/10 inch 2.5mm long. It has a dark spot on the first antennal segment and black spines on the legs. The nymphs are ovate and translucent when first hatched, but gradually turn pale green. The egg is about 1/28 inch (0.87mm) long and sac shaped. It is inserted into the bark, stems, and/or leaves of host plants with only the operculum (cap or cover) exposed.

Life Cycle: Campylomma overwinters as an egg, which is inserted deeply into the tissue of a woody host plant. Eggs hatch in the spring, beginning as early as tight cluster to pink stage of tree development and continuing through petal fall. Egg hatch peaks during or shortly after bloom. Nymphs pass through five instars. The total period of nymphal development depends on temperature and takes about 21 days at 72 degrees F.

Nymphs from the overwintering eggs may be present from mid-April to mid-June in central Washington. Adults first appear in mid- to late May. Studies of campylomma colonies on a herbaceous host showed females lived an average of 17 days and laid an average of 38 eggs. Eggs hatch in 7 to 13 days at constant temperatures between 68 and 81 °F. On apple and pear, the highest densities are usually detected in the spring, with minor peaks throughout the rest of the year.

The majority of the campylomma population spends the summer on herbaceous hosts, especially mullein, so samples taken in tree fruits represent only a part of the population. In summer, campylomma feed on insects (primarily thrips) and on the host plant. In late August, adults begin migrating back to woody hosts, such as apple and pear, where they mate and lay overwintering eggs through October. Observations indicate 2 to 4 generations occur annually in the Pacific Northwest.

Damage: Campylomma is one of the few tree fruit pests in the Pacific Northwest that is also a predator. Throughout most of its distribution in Europe and Asia no fruit damage has been noted, and it has been reported as an important predator of mites and occasionally aphids. In the Pacific Northwest, it preys on aphids and pear psylla and can greatly enhance biological control of these species. However, for a relatively short period around bloom, it feeds on flower parts and developing fruitlets.

Although fruit feeding may occur later than this period, it does not seem to cause damage. Early feeding causes a reaction in the fruit, producing a dark, raised, corky wart, often surrounded by a shallow depression . Feeding punctures can occur individually, or an entire quadrant of the fruit may be damaged. Multiple stings on a fruit usually cause some degree of fruit deformity. Stings tend to be more visible on the skin of Golden Delicious than on darker colored cultivars, and the scars may be a lighter tan color.

Campylomma Damage

Campylomma Damage

Controls: Sample apple trees starting at pink stage of apple bud development, because research in Washington indicates that prebloom and bloom chemical treatments are more effective than postbloom treatments. Campylomma nymphs are sampled by hitting a limb three times with a padded stick and jarring nymphs on to a cloth tray.

At the present time, there are no effective cultural control tactics for campylomma. In addition, no effective natural enemies have been discovered. Therefore, control efforts currently rely on properly timed application of chemicals.

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