University of Maryland Extension

Harlequin Bugs - Flowers

                                                         harlequin bugs

Back to Common Problems - Annuals, Bulbs, Groundcovers, Perennials, and Vines

The harlequin bug is pest of flowers and vegetables. The feeding damage appears as white stippling or spots on foliage of infested plants. They are particularly fond of crucifers such as ornamental kale and cabbage. They also feed on cleome and sunflower. The bugs are black with bright red markings, flat and about 3/8 of an inch long. The bugs lay their very distinctive eggs on the underside of leaves early garden crops. The eggs are tiny, white and barrel-shaped. When eggs are found, destroy them to prevent their hatching. To control the bugs, handpick or use insecticidal soap sprays. Occasionally boxelder bugs may damage herbaceous plants. They may feed on a variety of plants in years when populations are very high. Damage appears as spots on leaves and flowers.

Photo Gallery:

harlequin bugs and their damage on a leaf

Harlequin bugs on cleome


black and white harlequin bug eggs

Eggs of harlequin bugs

harlequin bugs hatching

Harlequin bugs hatching out of eggs


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