CABI Plantwise - Tea Mosquito Bug
Estimates of crop loss attributed to damage by Helopeltis spp. are variable and depend on factors such as agricultural practices, control methods, locality, climate, and the plant and insect species involved. Before the use of modern chemical insecticides, crop losses on tea plantations in India sometimes reached 100%. Das (1984) reported that a single late-instar nymph of H. theivora could make as many as 80 feeding lesions in 24 hours. Feeding damage on tea is most severe during periods of dull, calm, misty weather. Adult Helopeltis spp. prefer shaded, more humid positions near the centre of the plant, and feeding activity is highest in the early morning and late afternoon.
On commercially grown cashews, feeding is concentrated on the inflorescence panicles and fruits, with young shoots sustaining lower levels of attack. Damage to cashews by the related species H. antonii sometimes reaches 30-40% (Devasahayam and Nair, 1986).
On cocoa, feeding damage is concentrated on the pods in all stages of development. Heavy infestations can lead to substantial levels of pod malformation and drop (Tan, 1974b).