Don't let the harlequin bug
's red and black clown suit fool you.
, Murgantia histrionica (Hahn) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), is a specialist herbivore of cruciferous vegetables (Brassicaceae) and is an important pest of cole crops (Brassicale: Brassicaceae) in the USA (McPherson & McPherson 2000; Wallingford et al.
I've seen the colorful harlequin bug
in my gardens for years.
The community consists of the harlequin bug
(Murgantia histrionica; Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), a herbivore on bladderpod (Isomeris arborea; Capparaceae), and two specialist parasitoids (Trissolcus murgantiae; Hymenoptera: Scelionidae and Ooencyrtus johnsonii; Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) that attack the bug's eggs.
Front: This shimmery, glimmery harlequin bug
may look a bit like a shiny beetle.
Featherweight row cover held aloft with hoops or stakes is the easiest way to protect actively growing kale and collard greens from cabbageworms, harlequin bugs
, grasshoppers and other summer insects.
In summer, brightly marked harlequin bugs
and grasshoppers can devastate young plants.
This will reduce pests such as squash bugs and harlequin bugs
, which overwinter as adults in plant debris, as do Mexican bean beetles and some other pests.
(Choose a spring variety of lettuce like 'Red Salad Bowl' or 'Blackseeded Simpson.') Check overwintered greens for brilliant red and black harlequin bugs
and handpick before they spread.
Remove old kale, mustard and turnip plants before harlequin bugs
have a chance to reproduce, and plant successions of radishes, peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots and Chinese greens.
To trap harlequin bugs
next spring, try planting a mix of kale, turnips and mustard as an edible cover crop.
In early July, try running chickens in your old brassicas for two weeks to control harlequin bugs
. Harvest potatoes when the tops die down.