The Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris (Burmeister), is an invasive hemipteran insect (Pentatomidae family) first reported in Los Angeles County, Calif. in 2008. It has now spread to 19 other counties and is moving northwards.
By September 2014, Bagrada bug was reported in Imperial, San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Kern, Kings, Inyo, Fresno, Merced, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Yolo counties and is likely present in others.
Citizen scientists have been instrumental in reporting the occurrence of Bagrada in various counties and are helping map its current distribution.
The Bagrada bug is also spreading eastward and is currently reported in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas.
While Bagrada bugs can feed on host plants in addition to their preferred cruciferous hosts, serious damage to barley, corn, pepper, potato, tomato, and sunflower was recently reported by commercial growers or gardeners.
In a previous study where multiple food sources were offered, Bagrada bugs did not feed on tomatoes. The insect was found on strawberries and reportedly 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.
Regular monitoring, mechanical exclusion or removal, destruction of weed hosts, and chemical, botanical, and microbial pesticides are 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.
If you see Bagrada bug in an area or on a host that is not previously reported, please contact Surendra Dara at [email protected] 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