Problems with Harlequin Bugs?
We are moving into the season when many new adults of the season (the first summer generation) can reproduce and disperse. At Beltsville most of the first summer generation are now adults. Gardeners and growers need to be vigilant both with trap plants and with mid-summer cole crops, horseradish, etc. Don't neglect infested crops which have gone to flower and seed. These bugs will disperse to your valued crops.
Last year Harlequin Bugs devastated many cole crops in community gardens and on larger farms. We are undertaking a study with our farmer- and gardener-cooperators using a super-attractive trap plant to remove these bugs gardens and small farms in the DC and Baltimore region. It's experimental citizen science, using the latest in pheromone breakthroughs!
Above: Harlequin bugs feeding on forage radish cover crops on a farm in southern Maryland
Like other stink bugs, Harlequin bugs use an aggregation pheromone, produced by the male, which is attractive to females, males, and even the young nymphs. We have discovered and synthesized this non-toxic pheromone as an attractive lure. In combination with a collard plant, it can function as a super-attractive trap plant from which you can collect and remove the bugs from your garden or farm.
Part of the Solution!
Our research team works with regional gardeners and small farmers, to benefit from new developments with insect attractacts. The USDA Agricultural Research Service's Invasive Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Laboratory welcomes cooperators to implement our recent advances in trap cropping research.
Our research uses attractants that are non-toxic alternatives to chemical insecticides and will, with your help, protect sensitive insects, birds, and ecosystems.
Please contact Anthony DiMeglio, Citizen Science Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the harlequin bug trap cropping project! Your vegetables (and we) will thank you.