Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension, has seen several long-neck seed bugs in many strawberry patches during the late spring.
“Long-necked seed bugs are a beneficial insect in strawberries,” said Scheidt.
The long-necked seed bug is 3/8 inch long. The head is black, and they appear to have a neck. The wings are brown with yellow etched lines. The legs are slender and yellowish with black knee joints. The antennae have four segments; the first and last segments are black and the middle antennae segments are orange in color.
“Long-neck seed bugs are classified in the hemiptera order and the heteroptera suborder, meaning they are a true bug, like aphids, stinkbugs and leaf hoppers. They have piercing, sucking mouthparts, meaning their mouthparts look similar to a beak, like a hummingbird,” said Scheidt.
They can be found under leaf litter in early spring and in fields and under artificial lights in the summer. Long-necked seed bugs overwinter in woodland and migrate to fields in the spring and summer; they are attracted to lights.
According to Richard Houseman, University of Missouri plant sciences professor, long-neck seed bugs will sometimes feed on strawberry seeds but are rarely a threat needing treatment. They do feed on pests like St. John’s wort and other small insects.
Pictures of a long-necked seed bug are available on the Barton County Extension website at www.extension.missouri.edu/barton. For more information call 417-682-3579.