A possible new pest of Mediterranean cereals and grasses

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Alisdair

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A possible new pest of Mediterranean cereals and grasses
« on: March 19, 2012, 05:37:03 PM »
The grain chinch bug (Macchiademus diplopterus), sometimes called grain stink bug, South African grain bug or stinkbesies, is a serious pest of grain crops in the Mediterranean-climate area of South Africa. There, the adults congregate in large numbers during their summer dormant period, on fruit trees. Occasionally the UK plant health authorities find this bug in South African fruit shipments, especially peaches, during our winter – the South African summer.
It has been concluded that this pest is unlikely to represent any real risk in the UK, as winters are too cool and summers not hot and dry enough. However there may be some risk in Mediterranean countries, where bugs coming in on winter peach shipments could find a more suitable environment.
Symptoms in affected cereals are wilting and stunting (the bugs suck stem sap), with dry leaves and blind ears.
Anyone interested in the UK risk assessment can find it here.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

ezeiza

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Re: A possible new pest of Mediterranean cereals and grasses
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 05:58:27 PM »
With such a feeding pattern most probably virus dispersal is another catastrophic hazard in this pest's introduction.

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Alisdair

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Re: A possible new pest of Mediterranean cereals and grasses
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 06:36:33 PM »
The bug doesn't seem to be known as a virus vector (of course, that's not to say that it isn't one!).
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society