Friend or Foe?

What does it look like to you?

At first, i thought that these big bugs were beneficial predators eating white fly and spider mites.  I posted a little while back about how the whitely infestion dropped off when these guys showed up.  However, after those pests were gone, any new growth on the plants were stunted and wilting.  It looked like someone was sucking all the juice out of them!  No, it couldn’t be my new found good bug friends!  Right?

Those two timers!  Turns out, i was gravely mistaken.  I had a good case of Harlequin Bugs, Murgantia histrionica.  I confess, i didn’t really taxonomically identify the bug, but you get the idea.  They suck! Literally.  Sap sucking vermin, destroyer of things i want to eat, foul defoliator of all things Brassica (cabbage family).  It takes a few weeks for them to hatch, so while i’m sitting idly by, they’re planning a crop coup!  All of a sudden, the plants are crawling with them, and i’m left picking them of by hand and dropping them into a jar of bleach water.  You could pop them, but they tend to squirt: just ask my shirt with bug guts stains on it…Do yourself a favor, pick off the eggs before they hatch.

All my cabbage family veggies are toast.  Cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and collards.  Nearly 3 beds of veggies lost since it’s too late for some of these to recover.  I was really looking forward to these, and especially planned on freezing the kale, collards, and brussels as they hold up really well.  I’ll buy those veggies again this year from the farmer’s market for freezing.  Oh well, now i know another battle in the bug war that is called growing food in DC!


About Ryan

Urban gardening at it's best (sometimes it's worst)! Adventures and learnings from going 100% lawn free in a D.C. row house.
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One Response to Friend or Foe?

  1. Kim says:

    That. Sucks.

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