Bagrada hilaris, Not So Hilarious

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:

Bagrada hilaris nymph (immature adult bug)

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:

University of California, Riverside: Center for Invasive Species Research – Bagrada Bug

University of Californa, Irvine – Painted Bug

Western Farm Press: California’s New Pest – Bagrada Bug


About PGMG

Mama. Bookworm. Hiker. Music lover. Retro enthusiast. Eater of nachos.
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2 Responses to Bagrada hilaris, Not So Hilarious

  1. Jennifer Knox says:

    Crap! I haven’t seen any on my tomatoes yet, but we live near each other (as the bug flies) – so it’s probably just a matter of time. 🙂

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