Bagrada Bugs on the Loose
Have you seen orange and black bugs, usually traveling in pairs, all over your cole crops? If you live in the southwest, then chances are you have Bagrada bugs. This pest has been growing in population and this year it’s infesting farms and gardens with vigor.
Bagrada hilaris (commonly known as a painted bug) is often mistaken for a Harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionic). The confusion is common because these two pests look very similar and behave the same – sucking life from your broccoli, kale and other brassicas.
There are a couple of differences. One is their eggs. Bagrada eggs are white or cream colored barrels, while Harlequin eggs are a trademark black and white stripe. Check your garden for eggs on the undersides of leaves. Bagrada bugs typically lay their eggs in the soil, so you may not see any eggs.
Another difference is markings. Harlequin bugs have a consistent orange or red color whereas Bagradas bright patches bleed from white to orange to red. Use this post from University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Science to identify your bug. For treatment, floating row covers, hand picking and soap sprays are recommended. Find a list of other solutions in the comments section of this post on Harlequin bugs. Scroll down and good fighting!