Scientific name: Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale
A rather attractive bug which feeds mainly on haws, the fruit of the hawthorn bush, and its leaves in the springtime, it will also feed on White Beam and Oak. They use a sharp proboscis-like tube to spike into their food and suck out the liquid content. This leaves whitish dots on leaves due to the death of surrounding cells. They are relatively harmless apart from the visual damage and should be enjoyed rather than destroyed.
The adults over-winter in crevices in trees, under pieces of bark or in grass tussocks. They emerge in April and the eggs are laid on leaves in batches of up to 24, the nymphs hatch shortly afterwards and look like miniature adults.
Three other Shield Bugs found in Britain are the Birch (Elasmostethus interstinctus), Billberry (E. ferrugata) and Motherly (E. grisea) Shield Bugs. The latter so named as it was first recorded guarding its eggs and young.
In North America a common name for shield bugs is Stink Bug as they exude a distinctive odour from a gland in the abdomen if they feel under threat, this is particularly noticable indoors.
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