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Murgantia histrionica – Harlequin Bug

May 3, 2012

A Pest Insect

A member of the stink bug clan, it sucks moisture from the leaves of host plants.

Last summer a mid-season batch of bok choi got covered up with these. The mild winter probably helped them survive to suck on my kale this spring; it seems they have a preference for the Russian Red Kalse vs the more prolific curly Winterbor.

Neem seems to send them into fits and is effective to reduce numbers as long as you get the oild/water mix on their body as opposed to just on the plant. They aren’t as wary as the late summer stinkbugs that put hard spots on my tomatoes and fortunately their coloring is reminiscent of a New Orleans pimp’s
Mardi Gras wardrobe. Bottom line they are easy to spot then hit with spray or manually pick.

More reference: http://bugguide.net/node/view/557

On my Russian red kale, I present “Murgantia histrionica” – The Harlequin Bug

(See the white spots on the leaf under it that have been slurped dry?)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 4, 2012 12:08 am

    Well, it’s a beautiful bug but damn em for the damage they do. I haven’t seen any of those in my garden before but I sure have a lot of other creepy crawlies to contend with. I try to avoid chemicals so I do as much hand picking as I can. I even enlist some grand children & kids whenever I can. Great pictures of your harlequin!!

    • May 4, 2012 6:48 am

      I hate picking them, but I will thump them off and dispose of them with a boot as the opportunities present themselves. Neem oil is my weapon of choice.

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