The Damsel Bugs of the BC coastal region
Adult damsel bugs are up to 2.5 cm long, tan to reddish brown and slender, with their body tapering toward the head. Nymph stages are similar but lack fully developed wings.
Legs are relatively long with the front pair enlarged slightly to capture prey. The head bears long four segmented antennae and a four segmented beak . The beak is held underneath the body when at rest but is capable of being extended to pierce prey.
Adult damsel bugs spend the winter in ground cover and winter crops such as winter grain and alfalfa.
Eggs are inserted into plant tissue by females. Nymphs hatching from eggs develop through five stages in about 50 days. They are most abundant from mid June through mid August.
Damsel bugs are abundant in gardens, orchards and field crops such as cotton and soybeans, where they feed on caterpillar eggs, small larvae, aphids and spider mites. Although they will also feed on some plants, they cause no damage.
Damsel bugs are beneficial insects because they feed on a variety of arthropod pests, they are capable of biting but generally are medically harmless.