Common name: Cotton stainer
Scientific name: Dysdercus spp.
Synonyms: Cotton stainer bug, Red cotton stainer, Red seed bug of Malvaceae,
Red cotton bug
Cotton, okra, kapok, sorghum, millet, jute
Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and Africa
Cotton stainers feed both on immature and mature seeds. Their penetrations into the developing cotton bolls transmit fungi on the immature lint and seed, which latter on stain the lint with typical yellow color, hence the name 'cotton stainers'. Heavy infestations on the seeds affect the crop mass, oil content, and the marketability of the crop.
Eggs are pale, small, and are laid in the soil, or under soil and plant debris, or in the cotton plant in batches of about 7-100 eggs. Incubation period is about 4-13 days depending upon the temperature and the species.
Nymphs are found together in the area where the eggs had been laid and later disperse to look for food. Then they tend to meet again while feeding on seeds and while resting. They look similar to their adult counterparts but without wings. Nymphs molt five times and their development stages depend upon the temperature and their nutrition.
The adult cotton stainers are true bugs with piercing and sucking mouthparts. Their colors vary from bright red, yellow, and orange depending on the species. They are about 1-1.5 cm long. Adults can tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions and can disperse and fly up to 15 km.