Two harelquin bugs

Harlequin bug (Murgantia histrionica) Photo: Dr. Mike Raupp

Updated: March 10, 2023

The harlequin bug is pest of flowers and vegetables. However, they are more destructive in a vegetable garden than on ornamentals.  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. 

harlequin bugs and leaf spot damage

Harlequin bug nymphs and leaf spot damage. Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

harlequin bug eggs

Eggs of harlequin bugs. Photo: University of Maryland Extension

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