Monosteira unicostata (Mulsant and Rey)
Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Hemiptera, Heteroptera, Tingidae.
Common name: False tiger or poplar lace bug.
Host plants: Various fruit trees, such as apple, almond, pear and other trees, including Populus and Salix.
Distribution: Mediterranean region to southern Russia, and more recently in North America.
Morphology: Body of adults about 2.5 mm in length, pale brown, venter almost black. The hemelytra are strongly reticulated, and bear small brownish spots along their margins. The legs are dark-yellow.
Life history: This pest usually raises 3-5 annual generations. It overwinters as an adult, hidden in cracked tree bark or under fallen leaves. In spring it infests the new leaves, feeding on their underside and copulating. Eggs (about 150/female at 30ºC, less at lower temperatures) are placed in the tissue along leaf veins; the young emerge a week later. Development requires three to four weeks. The calculated threshold of development is at 16ºC and about 230 day degrees are required for development. The adults may live and lay eggs for about 6 weeks; they tend to aggregate and sometimes to disperse by flying.
Economic importance: Monosteira unicostata is considered a major pest of almonds in several Mediterranean countries. Feeding on host leaves results in small whitish spots (stippling) due to chlorophyll destruction. Heavily-infested leaves lose their cell contents as a result of sucking by the bugs. Lower leaf surfaces turn brownish as they become covered by the pest’s droppings. They become brittle, dry up, and much defoliation follows, leading to reduced almond yields. The damage due to the pest is more serious in drier areas. In addition, as leaves become heavily infested, the bugs tend to move away and may invade nearby houses, becoming a nuisance due to their unpleasant smell.
Tolerance: Some almond cultivars are less susceptible to the pest than others, showing little damage.
Chemical control: Neem products provided satisfactory pest control, as did pyrethroids. Treatments with Kaolin and fatty acids, combined with an essential oil, reduced pest numbers by about 40%, but only at the lower parts of trees. However, they should be repeated to achieve good tree coverage and due to the pest’s re-invasions by migrating individuals.
Biological control: Almost 30 pedatory beetles and Heteroptera attack M. unicostata in Turkey, but their controlling effect is not known.
Bolu, H. 2007. Population dynamics of lacebugs (Heteroptera: Tingidae) and its natural enemies in almond orchards of Turkey. Journal of the Entomological Research Society 9: 33–37.
Halperin, J. 1976. The poplar lace-bug Monostira unicostata Muls. (Hem. Het. Tingidae). Gan Vanof, Garden and Landscape 32: 19-25 (in Hebrew).
Marcotegui, A. (and 7 co-authors). 2015. Kaolin and potassium soap with thyme essential oil to control Monosteira unicostata and other phytophagous arthropods of almond trees in organic orchards. Journal of Pest Science 88: 753-765.
Russo, A., Siscaro, G. and Spampinato, R. G. 1994. Almond pests in Sicily. Acta Horticulturae 373: 309-315.
Sánchez-Ramos, I., Pascual, S., Fernández, C.E. and González-Núñez, M. 2017. Reproduction, longevity and life table parameters of Monosteira unicostata (Hemiptera: Tingidae) at constant temperatures. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research 15: e1012, (12 pages).
Sánchez-Ramos, I., Pascual S., Marcotegui, A., Fernández, C.E. and González-Núñez, M., 2014. Laboratory evaluation of alternative control methods against the false tiger, Monosteira unicostata (Hemiptera: Tingidae). Pest Management Science 70: 454-61.
Scudder, G.G.E. 2012. Monosteira unicostata (Mulsant & Rey) (Hemiptera: Tingidae) established in North America, with a key to the genera of Tingidae in Canada. Entomologica Americana 118: 295-297.
Talhouk, A.S. 1975. Contribution to the knowledge of almond pests in East Mediterranean countries. VI. The sap-sucking pests. 2: Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie 83: 248-257.