Four Lined Plant Bugs

Subject: Four Lined Plant Beetles, yellow & green
Location: Naperville, IL
July 1, 2013 6:21 pm
Hi Daniel~
Happy July! It’s been a long time (I think) since you’ve had one of these four-lined plant beetles (Poecilocapus lineatus) depicted, and I’ve never seen them around my neck of the woods until this year. They’re munching on some hydrangea leaves, and I found this yellow one and this green one on the same leaf. They’re very pretty little pests. All the best to you!
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Four Lined Plant Bug
Four Lined Plant Bug

Hi Dori,
Thanks for the new submission, however we have a correction to make to your text.  You have the scientific name correct, but your common name is not.  This is a True Bug, not a Beetle.  True Bugs have piercing/sucking mouthparts and they do not chew.  The brown spotting on the leaves might be due to the feeding which involves sucking nutritious fluids from the plants.  According to BugGuide:  “nymphs and adults feed preferentially on members of the mint family (wild mint, catnip, peppermint, spearmint, hyssop, oregano) but will attack a variety of wild plants (thistle, dandelion, burdock, tansy, loosestrife, sumac) as well as cultivated flowers (carnation, geranium, chrysanthemum, snapdragon, phlox) and crops (alfalfa, ginger, currant, raspberry, cucumber, lettuce, pea, potato, radish, squash).”  Hydrangeas are not mentioned as a food plant, but lists of food plants can often be incomplete.  Thanks again for supplying us with excellent new images of some Four Lined Plant Bugs,
Poecilocapsus lineatus.

Four Lined Plant Bug
Four Lined Plant Bug

Hi again~
It occurred to me after I sent these photos that these are not beetles at all, but rather, four-lined plant bugs, as in true bugs and hemipterans, not coleopterans. Sorry for the confusion; earlier today, I was watching a ladybird beetle larva molt into an adult, so I had beetles on the mind.
All the best,


4 thoughts on “Four Lined Plant Bugs”

  1. These will destroy flower and veg gardens. In my veg garden, they are on the beans, but they prefer a weed that also grows there, so I let the weed grow. They do not eat any of the mints in my garden. Best way to control them is to burn the cuttings from woody perennials (for example, mums need to be cut back three times before July Fourth. Burn those cuttings so the four-lined bugs cannot hatch out in compost). They lay eggs in tips of new growth, so follow through with cutting back to the ground and burning stems after blooming when possible. This will not eliminate them but can keep them in control. Neem oil, insecticidal soap or a good squashing are suitable when seen on plants, but they are hard to catch. They hatch in waves, info says there are two hatchings each year, but I believe it is more in warmer Zones.

  2. I don’t believe in BuG Carnage, but if it’s eating my veggies, it has to go. I do sacrifice some tomato leaves to the tomato hornworms every year and plant moonflowers and petunias for the moths.

    • We also draw the line with hemipterans that live in large quantities on our plants, like aphids and keeled-back treehoppers.


Leave a Comment