- 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.
Distribution of Bagrada bug in various California counties as of September, 2014.
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.
Damage to carrots from Bagrada bug feeding. (Photo by Rick Machado, Menifee)
Stippling and eventual necrosis of damaged tissue in chiko burdock. (Photo by Don DeLano, Pomona)
Backyard corn damaged by Bagrada bugs. (Photo by Larry Adcock, Arroyo Grande)
Adult Bagrada bugs on damaged pepper leaves. (Photo by Rick Machado, Menifee)
Seriously damaged seed potato plants (above) and tubers (below). (Photo by Rick Machado, Menifee)
Bagrada bug damage to sepals on sunflower. (Photo by Larry Adcock, Arroyo Grande)
Bagrada bug feeding damage to tomatoes. (Photos by Rick Machado, Menifee, above and Jennifer Evangelista, San Luis Obispo, below)
Bagrada bugs on strawberry foliage. Not seen to cause any feeding damage. (Photo by Jennifer Evangelista, San Luis Obispo)
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 email@example.com 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