The Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, a colorful stink bug much smaller than the brown marmorated stink bug, prefers to feed on crucifers. It is a seed and bud feeder that can be very damaging to cole crop vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. In the landscape it can become very abundant on alyssum, stock, candy tuft, and mustards. The best strategy for landscapes infested with this pest is to replace alyssum and other hosts with alternative plants that it does not feed on.
Adults and nymphal instars of bagrada bug. [S.K. Dara]
In the United States, the bagrada bug was first found in Los Angeles County in 2008. By 2011, the pest had disseminated throughout Southern California to include San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. In September 2012, the pest moved northward to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and recently (2013) the Bagrada bug was found in Fresno, Tulare, and Monterey counties. Other states where this stink bug is currently found include: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. More information is available at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74166.html.
As with the other invasive pests, if you think you found bagrada bug in your area, please alert your County Agricultural Commissioner's office, especially in areas where these insects have yet to be found. To learn more about bagrada bug identification and management, please visit the following links:
Bagrada bugs, female (L) and male (R). [G. Arakelian]
UC IPM PEST NOTE: Bagrada Bug
Pest Alert - UC IPM Online: Bagrada Bug
Center for Invasive Species Research: Bagrada Bug
This article was originally published in the April 2014 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin. See this and other articles at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/greenbulletin/index.html.