Belongs to: insects

Shield bug Pentatoma rufipes

Best time to see: May to mid Nov

Key facts

Shield bugs are similar to beetles, but instead of biting jaws they have straw-like mouths to suck sap out of plants

The forest shield bug in the main picture is found among trees; the dock bug on docks and sorrels

The green shield bug is very common and often found in gardens


Wing cases normally cover their membranous flight wings; 10–15 mm

Squeeze out an almond-smelling liquid when disturbed – the smell of the cyanide compounds that deter predators


Eggs are laid on suitable plants and usually hatch out and develop the same year

Spend the summer on plants, stabbing the stems with their beak-like mouth to suck the sap

Adults over-winter in leaf litter, in grass tussocks or under bark

© Tony Gunton

© Tony Gunton

© Tony Gunton