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Harlequin cabbage bug
not to be confused with the Harlequin Bug of Australia
The harlequin cabbage bug (Murgantia histrionica), also known as calico bug, fire bug or harlequin bug, is a black stinkbug of the family Pentatomidae, brilliantly marked with red, orange and yellow. It is destructive to cabbage and related plants in tropical America as well as throughout most of North America, especially the warmer parts of the United States. In addition to cabbage it can be a major pest to crops such as broccoli, radishes and the ornamental flower cleome. Nymphs are active during the summer and in the South the bug can achieve three generations a year. In the North there is only one generation annually and the insects overwinter as adults.
Organic control involves hand-picking the insects off the plants (they can be dropped into soapy water to drown them) and being especially careful to remove and destroy all the eggs, which are black-and-white striped,laid in clutches of twelve. Despite their "warning coloration", they are non-toxic and can be safely fed to poultry or pet reptiles or amphibians.
- National Audubon Society, Rayfield, S., & Milne, L. (1992). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders. New York: Knopf (ISBN 9780394507637).