What are lygus bugs?
Lygus bugs (Ligustrum spp.) are small, blackish brown insects with two pairs of wings. They have been known to cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. The adult female lice feed on the blood of humans or other mammals, while the male lays eggs which hatch into tiny maggot-like larvae. Larvae pupate within host tissues until they die shortly after emerging from their hosts’ bodies.
The lygus bug is not considered a major pest because it does not affect human health. However, its presence may result in reduced crop yields due to infestations of the louse-borne diseases such as trypanosomiasis and trichinellosis. Lice can transmit these diseases through contact with infected animals or contaminated soil.
How do I get rid of lygus bugs?
There are several methods to kill lice and lygus bugs. These include insecticides, physical removal of infested areas, and chemical treatments such as sprays. Chemical pesticides are generally used when there is no other treatment option available. Insecticidal soap (e.g., Lysol) kills most types of lice and many types of lygus bugs, but it can irritate sensitive skin if applied too frequently or improperly.
The difficulty in using insecticides on lice is that these bugs harbor in rough, irregular areas, so they are not exposed to enough of the toxin. Larger chunks of lice can be physically removed from infested plants and destroyed. Particular care should be taken around the roots, because lygus bugs may feed on the roots and kill the plants if there are too many of the insects present.
Research has shown that the use of integrated pest management (IPM) programs, such as crop rotations and resistant plant types, may be effective in reducing lygus bug populations. Crop rotations effectively prevent lygus bugs from building up resistance to certain pesticides. In addition, planting resistant plant types deters lice since they cannot feed on these plants as easily.
What about other treatment options?
Some farmers in the U.S. use a repellent called Agrox to deter lice and other pests from infesting their crops. This substance, which contains the foul-smelling pheromone (a substance that triggers a behavioral response in members of the same species), is available under several brand names including Eau d’Puk, Scaredy Cat, and Pique.
Do I need to worry about other animals?
Lygus bugs may sometimes be confused for other types of insects, so it is important to correctly identify the pest before beginning treatment. One potential hazard of attempting to control lygus bugs is that they may be mistaken for cochineal insects, which are similar in size and appearance.