Yesterday I asked my friends and fellow gardeners what this bug might be that has suddenly invaded my garden and is ravaging my tomato plants:
My friend Valerie did some detective work and we’ve confirmed that the pest is the Bagrada hilaris, also called the bagrada bug, painted bug, and harlequin bug. Apparantly its a type of shield bug, or stink bug. Different than the stink bugs that I have seen around since I was a kid, though. You know, the black ones that stick their butts in the air. Anyway, this bug is newcomer to Southern California and Arizona; its native to eastern and southern Africa, and parts of southern Europe and Asia. It was first spotted in Los Angeles in 2008. Not sure how I’m going to combat it yet… Supposedly the Bagrada Bug has no natural predators, so I don’t think beneficial insects will be much help here. I’ll try the old standby Neem Oil first and see how that goes.
Sound like something you’ve noticed in your garden? Here are some additional websites with information and photos of the Bagrada bug to help you confirm: