Ommatissus binotatus Fieber
(This species is also known as Ommatissus lybicus de Bergevin).
Common name: Dubas bug, old world date bug.
Geographical Distribution: North Africa, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and southern Russia.
Host plants Date palms and other Palmae.
Morphology: The adults are green-yellow, the female body is 3.5-4.0 mm long, and bears dark spots on the head and abdomen. The male is smaller, without the abdominal spots. The nymphs are grey-brown with dark stripes on their dorsum, and their posterior segments bear long thin waxy threads.
Life cycle: The pest raises two annual generation. The first, emerging from the overwintering eggs, appears in April, the other in August and its progeny overwinter on the fronds. The insect is susceptible to low temperatures (below 0ºC). Dispersal between trees and orchards is by winds and through the transfer of young date palm shoots. A female lives for about 10 weeks and lays 100 to 130 eggs. The optimum for the development of the immature bugs is at 25–27.5°C and the threshold of development is at 13°C.
Economic importance: The Dubas bug is a serious pest in the western parts of Egypt and in Spain, of lesser importance in Israel. It secretes copious amounts of sticky honeydew that are colonized by dark sooty mold fungi. The secretions may almost completely cover the palms and cause the dates to stick together and with the contaminating fungi, reduce the fruit’s market value. In addition, necrotic spotting appears in consequence of bug feeding, which may retard tree development. Weakened trees suffer more from this pest.
Monitoring: Pest presence can be detected by the appearance of honeydew on the date bunches or on the soil below.
Blumberg, D. 2008. Review: Date palm arthropod pests and their management in Israel. Phytoparasitica 36: 411-448.
Canale, A., Restuccia, P., Loni, A., Giannotti, P. and Benelli, G. 2010-2011. First record of Ommatissus binotatus Fieber (Hemiptera, (Tropiduchidae) in Liguria. Frustula Entomologica N.S. 33: 85-90.
El-Jboory, I.J. Chemical control of old world date bug Ommatissus binotatus de Berg using Basudin 600 EW. Iraqi Journal of Agricultural Science 4: (in Arabic).
Klein, M. and Venezian, A. 1985. The dubas date tropiduchid, Ommatissus binotatus lybicus, a threat to palm dates in Israel.Phytoparasitica 13: 95-101.
Mokhtar, A.M. and Al Nabhani, S.A. 2010. Temperature-dependent development of dubas bug, Ommatissus lybicus (Hemiptera: Tropiduchidae), an endemic pest of date palm, Phoenix dactylifera. European Journal of Entomology 107: 681-685.