Once we realized the problem we might have at hand, we immediately started planning a trip to investigate whether this pest has already set up a stable breeding population. We contacted the user junkyardsparkle (Joel Brandt), who posted the pictures on bugguide, and he kindly provided us with photos of many of the neighborhood Eucalyptus which we used to create the map below.
As we drove from Riverside to North Hollywood, we discussed what we planned to do. When we finally arrived and met up with Joel, we began walking through the neighborhoods, trying to see if we could find the bronze bug on any of the numerous Eucalyptus trees in sight. We targeted every single tree on our map, even surreptitiously crossing a gate with a broken lock to find a way to investigate the uncared-for trees that are located in government property immediately next to the freeway. While we found many of the other Eucalyptus pests, we had no luck with the bronze bug. Finally, feeling defeated after a long day of searching and walking in the hot sun not to mention swing around a 20-foot net, we walked back to Joel's apartment complex, where to our surprise, we found a different species of Eucalyptus tree that we had not seen all day. These trees happened to be right underneath the window where the insect was originally spotted, but both we and Joel had originally overlooked them because they looked quite a bit different from a regular Eucalyptus at a first glance. We tried collecting from every single tree in his complex, particularly targeting the one right underneath his window. Unfortunately, still no luck. We decided to call it a day, but before we left we placed sticky traps on several branches of the tree, around the window where the insect was seen, and on the fence near the trees in the hope that we would capture a specimen even after we left. Joel agreed to keep an eye out on the sticky traps for us and let us know if he saw anything else.
Authored by Anna Georgieva and Eric Gordon.
Anna Georgieva is about to enter her Junior year at University of California, Riverside. She has been working in the Weirauch lab since the fall of 2014 on identifying the hosts of kissing bugs through molecular gut content analysis and has recently started a project on Thaumastocoris peregrinus.
Eric Gordon is a graduate student at University of California, Riverside who works on the evolution of Heteroptera and their bacterial symbionts.
Many thanks to Joel Brandt for his original sighting of the bug and for most of the photos of Eucalyptus and those of Thaumastocoris.
Pests in Gardens and Landscapes
J. G. Millar, T. D. Paine, J. A. Bethke, R. W. Garrison, K. A. Campbell, S. H. Dreistadt, UC Statewide IPM
Produced by UC Statewide IPM Program, University of California, Davis, CA 95616
Is California Eucalyptus the Target of Biological Terrorism?
J. E. Warnert
Invasive Pests, or Tiny Biological Terrorists?
National Public Radio
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