Celery: Investigation of strategies to control capsid bugs in outdoor crops


The Problem:

Capsid bugs damage fruit and protected crops in the UK and are also pests of certain species of ornamental plant. Though considered sporadic pests of vegetable and salad crops grown outdoors, recent high incidences of capsid damage in celery suggest that the status of capsids as pests of this crop is increasing, particularly in organic crops. Three species of capsid have been seen in the vicinity of infested celery crops: common green capsid, European tarnished plant bug and what appears to be Orthops campestris, which does not have a common name.  Crop invasion by capsids is unpredictable and relatively little is known about their biology, particularly the biology of O. campestris, which would inform the development of an integrated control strategy for celery, although if the main pest species are common green capsid and European tarnished plant bug then information and techniques developed for strawberry crops might be used.


Current control of capsids in celery relies on the use of a small number of generally broad-spectrum synthetic insecticides.  In organic crops, control is reliant on the use of mesh covers, which work well if applied at the right time and well-sealed.  However, the presence of the covers may exacerbate infection by pathogens such as celery late blight, Septoria apiicola, and reduce crop quality.  The use of crop covers also presents challenges for effective weed control, is expensive and labour intensive. 


The aim of this project is to improve current understanding of the complex of capsid bugs that can infest celery crops, identify the key pest species and identify and evaluate approaches to control.

Project code:
FV 441
01 May 2015 - 31 March 2017
AHDB Horticulture
AHDB sector cost:
Project leader:


FV 441_GS_Annual 2016 FV 441_GS_Final_2017 FV 441_Report_Final_2017 FV 441_Report_Annual_2016

About this project

Aims and objectives:


The aim of this project is to: improve current understanding of the complex of capsid bugs that can infest celery crops; identify the key pest species, and identify and evaluate approaches to control.



1. Develop a clearer understanding of the identity and life cycles of the key species of capsid bug which infest celery crops in the UK.

2. Once the key species have been identified, determine the feasibility of rearing them in the laboratory or under semi-field conditions, so that more detailed studies can be undertaken on their life-cycle and on methods of control.

3. Using the information from Objective 1, review possible strategies (including the use of insecticides or crop covers) for managing populations of capsid bugs in the vicinity of celery crops.

4. Evaluate products currently approved for application to celery, novel insecticides and bio-insecticides that might be used on capsid bugs in small-scale field trials, and undertake a small scale study of potential biocontrol agents (predators).

5. Determine the potential and significance of improved monitoring and forecasting of infestations by capsid populations.

6. Identify promising approaches that could be investigated in a subsequent project.