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How to Get Rid of Crusader Bugs on Hummingbird Mint Plant

Updated: July 2, 2023


Hummingbird mint plants (Agastache) are a popular choice for gardeners looking to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. These beautiful plants feature vibrant flowers and fragrant foliage, making them a delightful addition to any garden. However, one common problem that gardeners may encounter when growing hummingbird mint plants is the presence of crusader bugs. These small insects can cause significant damage to the plant if left unchecked. In this article, we will discuss what crusader bugs are, the signs of an infestation, and most importantly, how to get rid of them.

What are Crusader Bugs?

Crusader bugs, also known as leaf-footed bugs (family Coreidae), are small insects that belong to the order Hemiptera. They have long antennae and distinctive leaf-shaped hind legs, which give them their common name. These bugs can vary in color from brown to green, depending on the species and stage of development.

Crusader bugs feed on the sap of various plants, including hummingbird mint. They use their piercing mouthparts to suck out the plant’s juices, which can weaken and deform the leaves and flowers. Additionally, these pests can transmit diseases from plant to plant, further compromising the health of your hummingbird mint.

Signs of an Infestation

Identifying a crusader bug infestation on your hummingbird mint plants is crucial for early intervention. Here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Wilting or Yellowing Leaves: If you notice that the leaves of your hummingbird mint are wilting or turning yellow, it may be a sign of a crusader bug infestation. The bugs’ feeding activity disrupts the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients properly, leading to discoloration and drooping foliage.

  2. Deformed Flowers: Crusader bugs often target the flowers of hummingbird mint plants. Their feeding can cause the flowers to become misshapen or stunted, detracting from their visual appeal.

  3. Egg Clusters: Female crusader bugs lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. These eggs are small, oval-shaped, and usually yellow or white. If you spot clusters of eggs on your hummingbird mint, it’s a clear indication of a potential infestation.

  4. Presence of Bugs: Lastly, if you observe small bugs with leaf-shaped hind legs crawling around your plants, it’s a definite sign that crusader bugs have taken up residence in your garden.

How to Get Rid of Crusader Bugs

Now that we know what to look for let’s discuss effective methods for getting rid of crusader bugs on your hummingbird mint plants:

1. Manual Removal

If you only have a few crusader bugs on your plants, manually removing them can be an effective control method. Simply pick them off by hand and dispose of them in a bucket of soapy water. Be sure to check both the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves, as well as the flowers and stems.

2. Pruning

Pruning affected parts of the plant is another way to control a crusader bug infestation. Carefully inspect your hummingbird mint and remove any leaves or flowers that show signs of damage or are heavily infested with bugs. Dispose of the pruned material away from your garden to prevent reinfestation.

3. Biological Controls

Introducing natural predators to your garden can help keep crusader bug populations in check. Some beneficial insects that prey on these pests include assassin bugs, lacewings, and ladybugs. You can attract these predators by planting nectar-rich flowers nearby or purchasing them from reputable suppliers.

4. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soaps are a popular organic option for controlling crusader bugs. These soaps work by suffocating the insects upon contact. To use insecticidal soap, mix it with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spray it directly on the affected parts of your hummingbird mint plant. Repeat the application every few days until the infestation is under control.

5. Neem Oil

Neem oil is another organic insecticide that can effectively eliminate crusader bugs. It works by disrupting the bugs’ feeding and reproductive processes, ultimately leading to their demise. Mix neem oil with water and a few drops of dish soap, then spray it onto your plants, paying close attention to the undersides of leaves where the eggs are typically found. Repeat the treatment weekly until the infestation is resolved.

6. Chemical Insecticides

For severe infestations that do not respond to organic methods, chemical insecticides may be necessary. However, it’s important to use these products as a last resort and strictly follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Choose an insecticide labeled for use on both vegetables and ornamental plants, as hummingbird mint falls into the latter category.

Preventing Future Infestations

Preventing crusader bug infestations is always preferable to dealing with them after they have already occurred. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

  1. Plant Selection: When choosing plants for your garden, opt for varieties that are less attractive to crusader bugs. Research which plants they tend to avoid and consider incorporating them into your landscape.

  2. Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your hummingbird mint plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Early detection allows for prompt action and reduces the risk of severe infestations.

  3. Proper Maintenance: Maintain optimal growing conditions for your plants by providing adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients. Healthy plants are more resilient to pest attacks.

  4. Crop Rotation: If you have a vegetable garden nearby, practice crop rotation to disrupt the life cycle of crusader bugs and decrease the chances of them establishing a permanent presence in your garden.


Crusader bugs can pose a threat to the health and beauty of your hummingbird mint plants, but with the right strategies, you can effectively control and eliminate these pests. By practicing manual removal, pruning, and utilizing organic or chemical insecticides as needed, you can keep your hummingbird mint flourishing and free from crusader bug infestations. Remember to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of future infestations and enjoy the vibrant blooms and delightful visits from hummingbirds in your garden.

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