Structure and the Life Cycle of Red Cotton Stainer (Cotton Bug)


This  blog post provides readers with the following objectives. The reader will be able to:

o   Describe the external features and life cycle of the cotton strainer.

cotton bugs

Red Cotton Bug (Cotton Stainer)

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hemiptera

Habitat of Cotton Stainer 

Cotton, baobab, okra, and several Hibiscus plants.

Examples of Cotton Stainer 

The Cotton Stainer (Dysdercus cingulatus) and the Pale Cotton Stainer (Dysdercus sidae) are generally the most common.

Structure of Cotton Stainer 

It measures about 12mm in length. The females are longer than the males. The head and prothorax are brightly red. The rest of the body is dark-brown.  The eyes, legs, and antennae are black colored.  

There is a black spot on each of the membranous fore wings. A series of white transverse bands are present on the ventral side of the abdomen.

Mouthparts are adapted for piercing and sucking. They form a straight beak or rostrum called proboscis, which usually held below the body when not in use.

Structure of Cotton Bug

Life Cycle of Cotton Stainer 

The mature female lays eggs in clusters of 70-80 eggs each in the soil. The eggs are spherical, yellowish-white about 1.2 mm in length. 

After 7 days the eggs are hatched into red colored nymphs. The nymphs feed gregariously on the cotton bolls. The nymphs undergo 5-moults to reach adult stage. 

The life cycle of bug is completed within six to eight weeks.

Economic Importance of Cotton Stainer

1.  They feed on the seeds and lower their oil content, making the seeds unfit for sowing.

2.  They transmit viral and fungal diseases to plant.

3.  They damage cotton plants by sucking the plant sap.

4.  Severe attack, open the bolls badly and the lint is of poor quality.

5. The cotton lint is stained by their excreta or their body juice as they are crushed in the ginning factories, so named Cotton Stainer.

How to Control Cotton Stainer

1. Cotton field should be ploughed to expose eggs to sunlight.

2.  Insects should be handpicked and killed in kerosene water.

3. Spraying young bolls with insecticides. 

4. Young bolls can be dusted with mixture of B.H.C and D.D.T. to kill the bug.

5. Introducing chicken into small scale farms to feed on the bugs.

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