Nesidiocoris tenuis

Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter)

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Miridae.

Geographic distribution: Nesidiocoris tenuis, of Mediterranean origin, has become common in many geographical regions due to its distribution in commerce as an efficient biological control agent.

Morphology: The adults are bright green, about 5-6 mm in length with black spots on their hindwings and large bulging dark eyes. The nymphs are also green, about 4 mm long.

Life history Nesidiocoris tenuis is an omnivore which feeds on plants, honeydew and on small arthropods. At 25°C a generation is completed within a fortnight, and fecundity came to 60-80 nymphs/female. The threshold of development was calculated to be at 13°C, and there is no diapause.

In the laboratory N. tenuis can be mass-reared on eggs of the stored-products pest Ephestia kuehniella Zeller (Lepidoptera), supplemented by sugar.

Economic importance: This predator is mass-reared and released in greenhouses and open field plots to control whiteflies (Aleyrodidae) and Tuta absoluta. In Israel N. tenuis is a dominant predator of T. absoluta. In addition, N. tenuis also reduces the numbers of pest thrips, plant mites and other pests in greenhouses. In Israel N. tenuis is a dominant predator of T. absoluta. It is sold as “NESIBUG” by Koppert Biological Systems.

After the numbers of tomato pests have been reduced, or in the absence of prey, this omnivore feeds on the plants, reducing their sugar and protein contents, and can cause substantial (up to nearly 30%) yield reductions. Thus known for a while as “the tomato bug”.

Effect of chemicals: Several pesticides, assayed within IPM efforts to control greenhouse pests, were also tested on N. tenuis. Wettable sulphur was harmless to the predator but dustable sulphur was moderately harmful. Spirotetramat was harmless whereas imidacloprid was toxic.


Calvo, F.J., Bolckmans, K. and Belda, J.E. 2012. Release rate for a pre-plant application of Nesidiocoris tenuis for Bemisia tabaci control in tomato. BioControl 57: 809-817.

El-Dessouki, S.A., El-Kifl, A.H. and Helal, H.A. 1976. Life cycle, host plants and symptoms of damage of the tomato bug, Nesidiocoris tenuis Reut. (Hemiptera: Miridae), in Egypt. Zeitschrift für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz 83: 204-220.

Hughes, G.E., Bale, J.B. and Sterk, G. 2009. Thermal biology and establishment potential in temperate climates of the predatory mirid Nesidiocoris tenuis. BioControl 54: 785.

Perdikis, D.Ch. Arvaniti, Κ.A., Paraskevopoulos, A. and Grigoriou, Α. 2015. Pre-plant release enhanced the earlier establishment of Nesidiocoris tenuis in open field tomato. Entomologia Hellenica 24: 11-21.

Sanchez, J.A. 2009. Density thresholds for Nesidiocoris tenuis (Heteroptera: Miridae) in tomato crops. Biological Control 51: 493-498.

Sanchez, J.A. and Lacasa, A. 2008. Impact of the zoophytophagous plant bug Nesidiocoris tenuis (Heteroptera: Miridae) on tomato yield. Journal of Economic Entomology 101: 1864–1870.

Sanchez, J.A., Lacasa, A., Arno, J., Castane, C. and Alomar, O. 2009. Life history parameters for Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter) (Heteroptera: Miridae) under different temperature regimes. Journal of Applied Entomology 133: 125–132.

Shaltiel-Harpaz, L. (and 9 co-authors). 2016. Control of the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), in open-field tomatoes by indigenous natural enemies occurring in Israel. Journal of Economic Entomology 109: 120-131.

Urbaneja-Bernat, P., Alonzo, M., Tena, A., Bolckmans, K. and Urbaneja, A. 2013. Sugar as nutritional supplement for the zoophytophagous predator Nesidiocoris tenuis. BioControl 58: 57-64.

Wanumen, A.C., Carvalho, G.A., Medina, P., Viñuela, E. and Adán, A. 2016. Residual acute toxicity of some modern insecticides toward two mirid predators of tomato pests. Journal of Economic Entomology 109:1079-1085.

Zappalà, L., Siscaro, G., Biondi, A., Mollá, O., González-Cabrera, J. and Urbaneja, A. 2012. Efficacy of sulphur on Tuta absoluta and its side effects on the predator Nesidiocoris tenuis. Journal of Applied Entomology 136: 401.