Most recently reviewed by: Janet Hurley (2020)
Common Name(s): Harlequin Bug
Known for their orange and black and red and black patterns the Harlequin Bug is a common pest of many vegetables.
Origin and Distribution
Southern United States ranging from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts.
Habitat & Hosts
Harlequin bugs are a pest of many vegetables. They prefer plants in the family Brassicae, which includes mustards and crucifers such as cabbage, mustard, greens and radish. They are also secondary pest of various fruit and vegetable crops such as beans, cantaloupe, onion, raspberry, pare, tomato, among others.
A mature female will lay about 12 barrel shaped eggs in a cluster. The eggs are easily distinguished by their black and white hoop pattern. Depending on the temperature, eggs will hatch in 4 to 29 days. Nymphs feed for 4 to 9 weeks going through 5 to 6 instars. The whole process from egg to adult can take between 50 to 80 days.
ManagementIf you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.
Physical removal of host plants, eggs, and living insects can reduce the pest population without the need of insecticides; these methods work best on smaller operations than larger one. Harlequin bugs can be controlled chemically with the following: acetamiprid, carbaryl, cyfluthrin, gamma-cyhalothrin, and pyrethrins. Read and follow the label for proper use and control.
Cranshaw, W S. “Harlequin Bug .” Extension, extension.colostate.edu/harlequin-bug-5-617/.
Knox, Marie A. “Harlequin Bug.” Harlequin Bug – Murgantia Histrionica (Hahn), 1998, entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/harlequin_bug.HTM.
UC IPM. “How to Manage Pests.” UC IPM Online, ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/harlequinbug.html.