- Author: Surendra Dara
Bagrada bug [Bagrada hilaris (Burmeister)] is an invasive hemipteran insect (Family: Pentatomidae) that was first reported in Los Angeles County, California in 2008. It has now spread to several counties in California and is moving northwards.
Distribution: Citizen scientists have been instrumental in reporting the occurrence of Bagrada in various counties and are helping map its current distribution. As of September 2014, Bagrada bug is known to be present in Imperial, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Kern, Kings, Inyso, Fresno, Merced, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Santa Clara,Alameda and Yolo Counties and is likely to be present in some other.
Bagrada bug is also spreading eastwards from California and is currently reported in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.
Host plants affected: While Bagrada bugs are known to feed on a variety of host plants in addition to their preferred cruciferous hosts, serious damage to barley, carrot, corn, pepper, potato, tomato, and sunflower was recently reported by growers or gardeners. In a previous study where multiple food sources were offered, Bagrada bugs did not feed on tomatoes. They were also found on strawberries and reported to be present on other hosts, but damage has not been confirmed. Bagrada bugs might have been present on these plants as they move around in search of suitable food sources.
Stippling and eventual necrosis of damaged tissue in chiko burdock. (Photo by Don DeLano, Pomona)
Management: Regular monitoring, mechanical exclusion or removal, destruction of weed hosts, and chemical, botanical, and microbial pesticides continue to be available management options. There have been several queries in the past two months from home owners, community garden operators, and organic growers about serious Bagrada bug infestations. Avoiding cruciferous and other hosts at risk should be a serious consideration for community and home gardens where using some of the currently available management options is difficult.
What to do: If you see Bagrada bug in an area or on a host that is not previously reported, please contact Surendra Dara at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-781-5940. This information will be useful to track the distribution of this pest.
Biology, damage, and control video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSj3AZoJIRM
Biology, damage, and control: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=4047
Potential organic solutions: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=11031
Host preference: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=9611
General information: http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=8438
- Author: Surendra Dara
An exotic bug is found invading parts of southern California and Arizona. It is referred to as painted bug in some literature and is similar to the harlequin bug, Murgantia histrionic in appearance. But it is called Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris (Burmeister) and belongs to the stink bug family Pentatomidae of the order Hemiptera.
Origin and distribution: It is native to Africa and is reported to infest and/or cause crop damage in parts of Asia and Europe. It is an exotic pest in the US. It was first reported in Los Angeles in June, 2008 and started causing damage to broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish, rutabaga, collards and other crops by the next year. It is now seen in Orange, Imeperial and Riverside Counties of California and all over Yuma Co in Arizona.
Host range: Feeds mainly on crucifers like cole crops, but can infest a variety of other hosts including solanaceous plants like potato, malvaceous plants like okra and cotton, leguminoseous plants like legumes, cucurbits like cantaloupes and watermelons, and graminaceous plants like wheat, corn and millets.
Biology: Adults are 5-7 mm long and 3-4 mm wide. They are black with orange and white markings. Females are larger than males and lay an average of 95 barrel shaped whitish eggs in clusters on foliage or in the soil. Eggs turn orange as they mature in 3-6 days. Nymphs resemble ladybugs due to their dark head and thorax and reddish or orange abdomen with white or black markings. They go through five instars before adults emerge in 5-8 weeks depending on the temperature. They have multiple generations in a year.
Damage: Bagrada bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts and feed on the plant juices. Depending on the crop and plant part they infest, damage can vary from stippling with necrotic spots, stunted growth, loss of apical dominance and formation of multiple heads to death.
Stippling of young cauliflower leaves (Courtesy: Eric Natwick, UCCE)
Multiple heads in broccoli (Courtesy: John Palumbo, Univ. of Arizona)
Management: Reports indicate that Bagrada bug can be controlled with pyrethroids, organophosphates like chlorpyrifos and malathion and neonicotinoids like imidacloprid in conventional fields using different treatment methods. Neem products have also showed some effectiveness in a study conducted abroad. Biological and microbial control options are being evaluated by some researchers.
What to do: It has not been reported in vegetable growing California Central Coast or areas other than those mentioned above. Since they are already found on several cole crops in the neighboring counties, those in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo Counties or surrounding areas should keep an eye out for this bug. It is important to be aware of this new pest and report its occurrence. If you find it in a new area, please call (805-788-2321) or email (email@example.com) me.
Ahuja, B., R. K. Kalyan., U. R. Ahuja, S. K. Singh, M. M. Sundria and A. Dhandapani. 2008. Integrated management strategy for painted bug, Bagrada hilaris (Burm.) inflicting injury at seedling stage of mustard (Brassica juncea) in arid western Rajasthan. Pesticide Res. J. 20: 48-51.
Halbert, S. E. and J. E. Eger. 2010. Bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) an exotic pest of cruciferae established in the Western USA. Florida Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services, DACS-P-01750./span>