Up in the heritage orchard, near the allotments, Ian Bushell has found two new species of bug for our lists: a hairy shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) and a cabbage shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea).

All sorts of insects and other invertebrates are commonly called bugs, but true bugs, like these two shieldbugs, belong to the order Hemiptera. Worldwide, there are more than 80,000 species of true bugs, around 1,830 of them native to the UK. The order includes, among many, aphids, planthoppers and bedbugs as well as shieldbugs.

One of the defining features of true bugs is their needle-like mouthparts with which they pierce the skin of plants and sometimes animals to suck out sap or blood. These two shieldbugs are strictly vegetarian, feeding on the wide variety of plants in the heritage orchard – and probably the allotments too.

The cabbage shieldbug, as its name suggests, feeds on Brassicaceae and other cruciferous plants but it would take a sizeable infestation to do any significant damage to your cabbages. The hairy shieldbug has more varied and less cultivated tastes and can be found feeding on the leaves and fruit of all kinds of hedgerow and woodland edge vegetation.

Keep a lookout for shieldbugs. They are often strikingly coloured and patterned which makes them easy to identify, and slow moving enough to be easily photographed. Here is a link to the British Naturalists’ Association guide to shield bugs.

Good hunting!

Header Image by Ian Bushell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: