the harlequin bug

It has been a while since I’ve written a post about a bug and my sometimes-gruesome attempts to protect my crops from them. Well, if you have been lamenting the absence of such a post, today is your lucky day! If not, you might want to check back on another day when I talk about a recipe or post a photograph of a flower.

Actually, there is nothing too gross here. Just a few pictures of my latest foe, the harlequin bug.

I noticed them a while ago, but couldn’t actually figure out what they were up to. I suspected they might be doing something inappropriate to my broccoli florets, but I couldn’t figure out what. And when questioned about it, they strenuously denied any wrongdoing. So, I took this picture and did a background check. Good thing I did.

According to the University of Florida, I was right to be suspicious:

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. Further north, the approaching winter drives the bugs into the shelter of cabbage stalks, bunches of grass, and other rubbish. Adults are usually the only stage to survive winter conditions. During the first few warm days of spring the adults emerge by the time the earliest garden plants are set out.

So, the harlequin bugs better move off Maggie’s farm soon, or I’m going to have to get rough. Look, I don’t crush the life out of them because it is fun. I have a husband to feed, you know.

Plus, this way I’m not using any pesticides, which of course is good for our environment.

Hey, stop looking at me that way…

harlequin bugs

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