Crusader Bug: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Crusader bugs are fascinating insects that deserve attention due to their unique features and behavior. Belonging to the family Coreidae, these bugs exhibit interesting characteristics that make them stand out among other insects.

One key aspect of Crusader bugs is their diverse diet and feeding habits. They are primarily plant feeders, known to consume sap from various plants. However, some may also display predatory behaviors, seizing small, soft-bodied insects with their specialized front legs.

Below are some notable features of these intriguing insects:

  • Distinctive striped pattern on their back
  • Sturdy front legs meant for prey capture
  • Long antennae for enhanced sensing abilities

In the realm of insects, Crusader bugs offer a unique combination of traits that make them an intriguing subject for study and observation. Whether it’s their striking appearance or feeding habits, there’s much to discover about these remarkable creatures.

Crusader Bug Basics

Identification and Distribution

The Crusader Bug, also known as the Crusader, is a unique insect found primarily in Australia and Indonesia. Its distinctive features include:

  • A black body with yellow or white cross markings
  • A length of approximately 15 to 20 mm
  • Wings that cover the entire abdomen

This bug can be distinguished from others due to its striking appearance, making it easily recognizable.

Life Cycle and Habitat

The life cycle of Crusader Bugs involves several stages:

  1. Egg: Female Crusader Bugs lay clusters of tiny, barrel-shaped eggs on the underside of leaves.
  2. Nymph: These hatch into small, wingless nymphs that undergo multiple molts before becoming adults.
  3. Adult: Fully grown Crusader Bugs have wings and can mate to start the cycle again.

Crusader Bugs are commonly found in a variety of habitats, such as:

  • Gardens
  • Woodlands
  • Forests

These insects play an important role in their ecosystem by feeding on various plant species, providing natural pest control. To summarize:

  • Crusader Bugs are easily identified by their black bodies with yellow or white cross markings.
  • They can be found in Australia and Indonesia, inhabiting gardens, woodlands, and forests.
  • Their life cycle involves three stages: egg, nymph, and adult.

Impact on Plants and Environment

Affected Plants

The Crusader Bug, also known as Mictis profana, poses a threat to various garden plants and trees. Some of the common affected plants include:

  • Citrus: such as lemons, oranges, and limes
  • Wattles: including Acacia species
  • Eucalypts: various species of eucalyptus trees
  • Garden plants: roses, and other ornamental species

Crusader Bugs may also attack new shoots and young leaves, which can lead to stunted growth and reduced plant vigor.

Signs of Infestation

An infestation of Crusader Bugs can cause noticeable damage to plants, which may manifest as:

  • Leaves: curling, yellowing, and wilting
  • New shoots: deformation and stunted growth

To help you better understand the effects of Crusader Bugs on different plants, here’s a comparison table:

Plant Effect on Leaves Effect on New Shoots
Citrus yellowing deformation
Wattles curling stunted growth
Eucalypts wilting
Roses deformation

Recognizing these signs of infestation allows for timely intervention to protect plants and maintain a healthy environment in your garden. Follow recommended pest management practices to prevent or address Crusader Bug infestations.

Control and Management

Natural Predators

Crusader bugs have several natural predators that help control their population. Some examples include:

  • Birds: Many bird species feed on crusader bugs, like sparrows and blackbirds.
  • Assassin bugs: These predatory insects hunt and feed on crusader bugs.
  • Parasitic wasps: These wasps lay their eggs on crusader bugs, and their larvae eventually consume the host.

Natural Methods

There are numerous natural control methods for managing crusader bug populations. Some tips include:

  • Removing habitat: Eliminate clutter and debris where pests can breed or hide.
  • Encouraging beneficial insects: Plant flowers and plants that attract natural predators of crusader bugs.
  • Barrier methods: Protect vulnerable plants with physical barriers like netting or row covers.

Neem oil is a popular natural insecticide. It acts as a deterrent and reduces feeding and reproduction of crusader bugs.

Chemical Methods

Chemical control methods should only be used when necessary. Selective insecticides are more favorable as they only target specific pests while preserving beneficial insects.

Comparison of Selective Insecticides:

Insecticide Pros Cons
Neem Oil Environmentally friendly, targets specific pests May need repeat applications
Pyrethrum Fast acting, biodegradable Can harm beneficial insects if not used carefully
Spinosad Targets several pests, low toxicity to mammals May harm some beneficial insects

When using chemical methods, follow all label instructions and adhere to safety guidelines. Remember, an integrated pest management approach utilizing multiple methods is the most effective way to control and manage crusader bugs.

Monitoring and Prevention

Regular Monitoring

  • Monitor your garden and tree regularly, especially during summer.
  • Keep an eye on both adult Crusader Bugs and their nymphal stages.

Preventive Measures

  • Maintain the cleanliness of your garden.
  • For minor pests, manual removal using gloved hands can be effective.

Comparison Table: Crusader Bug vs. Other Bugs

Feature Crusader Bug Other Bugs
Mouthparts Sucking mouthparts Varies (some are similar)
Host Plants Mostly game and herbaceous plants Broader range
Pests Status Minor pests Varies from minor to major

Pros and Cons of Chemical Treatment

Pros:

  • Efficient for controlling large infestations.
  • Can prevent future infestations if done correctly.

Cons:

  • Can harm beneficial insects.
  • May not be eco-friendly.

Remember to monitor your garden, apply preventive measures, and use appropriate control methods to ensure the health of your plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Crusader Bugs harmful to humans?
No, Crusader Bugs are not harmful to humans. They mainly feed on plant juices and can be a nuisance in the garden, but they don’t bite or sting.

How to deal with an infestation?
To handle a Crusader Bug infestation, consider using natural methods like:

  • Hand-picking and removing the bugs from plants
  • Encouraging natural predators such as birds and beneficial insects.

What do the juveniles look like?
Juvenile Crusader Bugs have a similar shape to adults, but they are smaller and have different color patterns. They typically have a bright red or orange color with black markings.

Do Crusader Bugs damage stems?
Yes, they can damage plant stems by sucking the juices, which can lead to wilting and discoloration in plants.

Is there a connection between Crusader Bugs and the NFL?
There is no direct connection between Crusader Bugs and the NFL. The term “Crusader Bug” might be used as a nickname for a sports team or player, but it’s unrelated to insects.

Here is a comparison table of Crusader Bugs and other similar insects:

Feature Crusader Bug Stink Bug
Harmful to humans No No
Feeds on Plant juices Plant juices and some insects
Damages plants Yes _ Yes
Natural methods Hand-picking, predators Hand-picking, traps, predators

Some characteristics of Crusader Bugs include:

  • Flat, oval-shaped body
  • Grayish-brown color with orange markings
  • Long antennae
  • Nymphs have brighter colors

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Crusader Bug Nymph from Australia

 

Subject:  Juvenile assassin bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Canberra, ACT
Date: 01/24/2018
Time: 04:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, does this look like an assassin bug instar to you? I can’t find anything  in picture files with the two spots…
How you want your letter signed:  Edwin

Hi, actually don’t bother! I think now it’s a eucalyptus tip bug instar. Thanks for your great work anyway!
Edwin

Immature Crusader Bug

Dear Edwin,
We got your subsequent communication indicating that your believe this is a “eucalyptus tip bug instar” instead of an Assassin Bug nymph, but we disagree.  Five different species of Eucalyptus Tip Wilter Bugs from the tribe Amorbini are pictured on the Brisbane Insect site, and none resemble your nymph.  We did find an image on Alamy identified as Australian Crusader bug nymphs that is a better match, and that identification is supported by images of
Mictis profana on the Brisbane Insect site.  Congratulations on identifying the correct family.  The identification of immature insects is often a challenge.

Letter 2 – Crusader Bug from Australia

 

Subject: Grasshopper (?)
Location: South West WA
February 16, 2015 5:40 am
I have not seen this type of grasshopper (?) on my farm in 15 years – is it something ‘exotic’ or have I just been missing them?
I found two of them earlier today (Mon 16 Fed 2015) in a wisteria that is creeping over the fencing in my driveway entrance.
They seem to be able to fly quite well – and make quite a bit of noise doing it! The noise is what alerted me to their presence.
Thanks
Signature: John

Our Robo-Response
Thank you for submitting your identification request.
Please understand that we have a very small staff that does this as a labor of love. We cannot answer all submissions (not by a long shot). But we’ll do the best we can.

I have managed to identify the insect in the query I submitted earlier – it is a CRUSADER BUG

Crusader Bug
Crusader Bug

Dear John,
We are happy you identified your Crusader Bug prior to our response, and we are thrilled to be able to add a new Big Legged Bug or Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae from Australia to our archives as our existing images of the species are all of immature nymphs.  More about the Crusader Bug,
Mictis profana, can be found on the Brisbane Insect website.

Letter 3 – Crusader Bug Hatchlings from Australia

 

Subject: A cluster of black and orange bugs in Western Australia
Location: Perth, Western Australia
November 5, 2013 7:27 pm
Hi there! I have been busy over the last year bringing my desolate (rental house) garden from a sand out to a lush garden with flowers and veggies. So far so good, and I am seeing lots of biodiversity now!
I found this cluster of bugs in the fence around my veggie patch this morning… I was hoping they are assassin bugs, but I can’t see any mouthparts. Any ideas?
Signature: Jess

Coreid Hatchlings
Holy Cross Bug Hatchlings

Dear Jess,
We quickly identified your Coreid Bug Hatchlings as Crusader Bugs or Holy Cross Bugs,
Mictis profana, thanks to the Brisbane Insect site.  They are plant sucking insects and the site states:  “The bugs feed on Acacia, Cassia and some other garden plants.”

Immature Holy Cross Bugs
Immature Holy Cross Bugs

Letter 4 – Immature Crusader Bug from Australia

 

Species identification
Location: Perth, Western Australia
November 10, 2010 2:45 am
Hello
I found this bug on a rose bush out the front of my house. It is about 1cm long and 2mm wide.
Signature: Adam Thorn

Crusader Bug Nymph

Hi Adam,
We learned that this immature bug in the family Coreidae is a Crusader Bug or Holy Cross Bug,
Mictis profana.  We identified it on the Insects of Brisbane Website.  The adult has a diagonal white cross on its back which led to the common names.  According to the Csiro website, the Crusader Bug ranges throughout Australia.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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