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Statewide IPM Program, University of California


Bagrada Bug

Published   9/13

You can help stop this new pest by recognizing and reporting it.

Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, is an invasive stink bug spreading through western Arizona and southern California since 2008, causing severe crop, nursery, and landscape losses. Bagrada bugs gather on plants in large groups. In agriculture, Bagrada bug is a pest of cole crops and other mustard family plants. In home gardens it feeds on these same vegetables and on ornamental plants such as sweet alyssum and candytuft.

How to identify Bagrada bug

Bagrada bug eggs.

  • EGGS: Laid singly or in small clusters on underside of leaves, stems, or on soil underneath plants. Eggs are initially white and turn orange-red as they get older.
  • WINGLESS NYMPHS: Young Bagrada bugs change color from bright orange to red with dark markings as they get older. Newly molted nymphs and adults are also red but quickly darken.
Bagrada bug ID.

Similar stink bug

Bagrada bug adults have the same coloring as harlequin bugs, but are smaller, about a quarter to a third the size, with smaller orange markings.

compare sizes

Impact of Bagrada bug on plants

Bagrada bugs use their needlelike mouthparts to pierce and feed on plants and their seeds. Depending on the kind of plant, plant age, and plant part they feed on, damage can include leaf spotting, wilting, stunting, central stem tip death causing multiple branches or crowns, and death of the whole plant. With high numbers of Bagrada bugs, young broccoli and cabbage plants left unprotected for as few as 2 to 3 days can be significantly damaged.

Bagrada bug feeding damage. Bagrada bug feeding damage. Bagrada bug feeding damage.

Damage on (left to right) cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

Host range

Bagrada bug prefers plants in the mustard family, such as sweet alyssum, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, radish, rutabaga, and weeds such as London rocket, shepherd’s-purse, and wild mustard. It reportedly also feeds on strawberries, melons, and members of the nightshade (potatoes, peppers), mallow (okra, cotton), legume, and grain families (wheat, corn, sudangrass, millet).

How it spreads

While bugs may move to other areas on their own, do not transport infested plants or produce into new areas.

Report any sightings

If you find a stink bug you suspect is Bagrada bug in a county where it hasn’t been reported, place it in a container, carefully note where and when you collected it, and take the sealed container to your county agricultural commissioner or UC Cooperative Extension office. To learn where Bagrada bug is established and how to manage it, go to the UC IPM web site.

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