The Green Shield Bug (Piezodorus lituratus), like its name suggests, is bright green and has a body shaped like a knight’s shield. However, the green colour may darken or even change to a deep bronze in the winter before it goes into hibernation. It hibernates in grass tussocks or leaf litter and emerges again around May time, and sometimes you may see it basking in the sun on top of plants or on tufts of grass before it goes into hibernation.
It is sometimes called a ‘Green Stink Bug’ as it can produce a very pungent smell if it is disturbed or handled. It can be seen in gardens, parks and woodland edges throughout England and Wales, but less so in Scotland. However, if you can’t see it so easily because it is hidden among some plants you may be able to see the stinky trial it leaves behind!
The Green Shield Bug feeds on deciduous shrubs, tall herbs, leaves of tress and plant sap. It uses its piercing and sucking mouth parts to suck sap out of the plants.
The Green Shield Bug is about one centimetre in length and can fly. It has four sets of wings; two green wings which are thick at the base and fine at the tip, and then there are two other transparent wings underneath which are thin and flexible. The bug holds the wings flat over its shield-like body when it is not flying. It has six thin green legs and two long green antennae which have brown markings at the end of them. It uses its antennae to detect air movements, vibration caused by sound and even taste and smell.
Female Green Shield Bugs lays clutches of eggs in multiples of seven underneath leaves. When they hatch they are wingless so this is the time you will see them crawl between plants when feeding. The baby bugs are called nymphs and they undergo four incomplete moults before they become flying adults.