Harlequin cabbage bug

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not to be confused with the Harlequin Bug of Australia

Harlequin cabbage bug
Harlequin Bug adult and nymph.jpg
Adult (left) and nymph (right)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Pentatomorpha
Family: Pentatomidae
Genus: Murgantia
Species: M. histrionica
Binomial name
Murgantia histrionica
(Hahn, 1834)

The harlequin cabbage bug (Murgantia histrionica), also known as calico bug, fire bug or harlequin bug, is a black stinkbug of the family Pentatomidae, brilliantly marked with red, orange and yellow. It is destructive to cabbage and related plants in tropical America as well as throughout most of North America, especially the warmer parts of the United States. In addition to cabbage it can be a major pest to crops such as broccoli, radishes and the ornamental flower cleome. Nymphs are active during the summer and in the tropics the bug can achieve three to six generations a year. In the northern range there is only one generation annually and the insects overwinter as adults.

Organic control involves hand-picking the insects off the plants (they can be dropped into soapy water to drown them) and being especially careful to remove and destroy all the eggs, which are black-and-white striped, laid in clutches of twelve. They are non-toxic, despite their "warning coloration" which mimics bagrada bugs, and can be safely fed to poultry or pet reptiles or amphibians.

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