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harlequin bug

Q: I have an insect on my cleomes and they are eating it up. What is this insect?

Q: I have an insect on my cleomes and they are eating it up. What is this insect?
A: I am so glad you brought this specimen in for me to see. What was equally exciting was to see the egg sacs too. While I was examining the egg sacs, the nymphs began to hatch out – I was beside myself! What you have on your plants is called the harlequin beetle. It is a beautiful insect in all of its stages – even the eggs are intriguingly striped black and white. The harlequin bug feeds on its host plant by sucking the plant’s juices. The literal “sucking-to-death” of the host plant results in wilting, browning, and eventual death. Throughout most of its range, the harlequin bug continues to feed and reproduce during the entire year. The harlequin bug is an important insect pest of cabbage and related crops in the southern half of the United States. This pest has the ability to destroy the entire crop where it is not controlled. Hand-picking and destruction of the insect pests and egg masses may deter damage where low numbers of insects are found.