Updated: July 2, 2023


Mulberry plants are a popular addition to many gardens due to their beautiful foliage and bountiful fruit. However, just like any other plant, mulberries are susceptible to various pests and diseases. One common pest that can wreak havoc on mulberry plants is the crusader bug (Mictis profana). These small insects feed on the leaves and fruits of the mulberry plant, causing damage and reducing the overall health of the tree. In this article, we will discuss effective methods to get rid of crusader bugs and protect your beloved mulberry plant.

Identifying Crusader Bugs

Before delving into the methods of eradication, it is important to correctly identify crusader bugs. These pests are approximately 6mm in length and have a distinctive shape, resembling a shield. They are usually brown or reddish-brown in color with a black pattern on their backs. Crusader bugs can be found on both the upper and lower surfaces of mulberry leaves, as well as on the fruits.

Prevention is Key

As with any pest problem, prevention is always the best approach. By implementing certain measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of crusader bug infestations on your mulberry plant. Here are some preventive steps you can take:

1. Maintain a Healthy Mulberry Tree

A healthy mulberry tree is less likely to attract pests, including crusader bugs. Ensure that your tree receives adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients to promote overall health. Regularly inspect the tree for any signs of stress or disease and promptly address any issues.

2. Remove Fallen Leaves and Debris

Crusader bugs often seek shelter in fallen leaves and debris around the base of the tree. Regularly clean up fallen leaves and debris to eliminate potential hiding spots for these pests.

3. Prune Infested Branches

If you notice any branches or leaves that are heavily infested with crusader bugs, prune them immediately. This will prevent the bugs from spreading to other parts of the tree and minimize the damage caused.

4. Use Natural Predators

Encourage the presence of natural predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings, in your garden. These beneficial insects feed on crusader bugs and can help control their population naturally.

Organic Methods of Eradication

If preventive measures fail and your mulberry plant becomes infested with crusader bugs, there are several organic methods you can try to eradicate them:

1. Handpicking

One of the simplest and most effective methods of removing crusader bugs from your mulberry plant is by handpicking. Wear gloves to protect your hands and carefully pick off the bugs from the leaves and fruits. Drop them into a bucket of soapy water to ensure they are killed.

2. Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural insecticide derived from the neem tree. It is effective against a wide range of pests, including crusader bugs. Mix neem oil with water according to the instructions on the packaging and spray it on the affected parts of the mulberry tree. Repeat this process every few days until the infestation subsides.

3. Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soap is another organic option for controlling crusader bug infestations. It works by suffocating the insects upon contact. Dilute insecticidal soap with water as per the instructions and spray it directly on the bugs. Be sure to cover both sides of the leaves and all affected areas.

4. Garlic Spray

Garlic has natural insect-repellent properties and can be used to ward off crusader bugs. Crush a few garlic cloves and soak them in water overnight. Strain the mixture and add a few drops of dish soap. Spray this solution on the mulberry tree, paying close attention to the affected areas.

Chemical Control

If the infestation is severe and organic methods are not effective, you may consider resorting to chemical control. However, it is important to exercise caution when using chemical pesticides, as they can harm beneficial insects and negatively impact the environment. If you decide to use chemical pesticides, follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a pesticide specifically formulated for crusader bugs.
  • Read and follow the instructions on the label carefully.
  • Apply the pesticide during calm weather conditions to prevent drift.
  • Avoid spraying near water sources or flowering plants.
  • Use protective clothing and gear to minimize exposure.


The presence of crusader bugs on your mulberry plant can be detrimental to its health and productivity. By implementing preventive measures and utilizing organic methods of eradication, you can effectively control these pests and protect your mulberry plant. Remember that maintaining a healthy tree is key to preventing infestations in the first place, so be sure to provide proper care and regular inspections. With patience and perseverance, you can enjoy a thriving mulberry tree free from crusader bug troubles.