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Harlequin Bug (Murgantia histrionica)

Order: Hemiptera (he-MIP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Pentatomidae (pen-ta-TOM-id-ee) (Info)
Genus: Murgantia
Species: histrionica (his-tree-OH-nee-ka) (Info)


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Deer, Arkansas
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Cypress, California
Huntington Beach, California
Lake Forest, California
Newport Beach, California
Reseda, California
Santa Ana, California
Torrance, California
Camden Wyoming, Delaware
Augusta, Georgia
Powder Springs, Georgia
Hebron, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Lincolnville, Maine
Baltimore, Maryland
Millersville, Maryland
Stevensville, Maryland
Brockton, Massachusetts
Natchez, Mississippi
Marshfield, Missouri
Blackwood, New Jersey
Bridgeton, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Arverne, New York
Astoria, New York
Greensboro, North Carolina
Boise City, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Glenville, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wallingford, Pennsylvania
Nashville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Irving, Texas
Brandy Station, Virginia
Salem, Virginia
Vienna, Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jun 29, 2013, acreade from Reseda, CA wrote:

Just found this critter this morning. It has been eating holes in our broccoli plants and now we need to find out how to get rid of them and prevent them from coming back and getting to the cauliflower and other plants as well.


On Oct 11, 2009, MarioB from Rimouski,
Canada wrote:

First, I just discover this insect (Harlequin Bug) with a strange three-line draft on the back, two weeks ago, in a field, near Rimouski (Québec, Canada). We found two different nests, very close to each other. Nobody around me had seen this kind of animal before!

I search for it on Internet and finally find your page about it.

You can see my photo of the beast on Flickr :

When we saw it, we though it was a beetle nest (coccinelle). But it has no separation on the middle of the back. And they are no alike them. They live very close to each other, as you ... read more


On Apr 29, 2009, beejflowers from Powder Springs, GA wrote:

We have just found these bugs on the brussel sprouts. We are trying to control by hand and sevin. Not sure how this will work out. We also have cabbage but have not found any the plants.


On Oct 1, 2008, OCCAROL from Santa Ana, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I've only found these in one of my flower beds...the one that has Alyssum in it. Now that they have wiped that out they are working on the roses and coneflower. Cleaning up the beds in fall/winter doesn't help a bit!


On Sep 4, 2008, 591 from Camden Wyoming, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

Found these bugs eating the leaves on my cleome's
Will use a dishwashing solution on them, I hope it works


On Jul 20, 2008, mlov36 from Stevensville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

These bugs seem to attack my brassicas every other year in huge numbers. They only sure way I have found to defeat them is take away what they like to eat. In my USDA zone 7 am able to plant a winter garden with the help of Remay and TLC. They won't stick around for cold weather, but the brassicas love it.


On Jun 5, 2008, Sunshine183 from Lincolnville, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

I saw this bug for the first time yesterday. I had no idea what it was so I was researching and found a picture of it on this site. They had apparantly just hatched out. I'm assuming that it is new to this area since I had never seen it before. I showed them to some other people and none of them knew what it was either. Thanks to this website I now know what it is.


On May 26, 2008, SMB49 from Cypress, CA wrote:

I have these bugs all over my alyssum's, they are sucking the life out of them. The guy at the nursery identified them for me and said to use Bayer Advanced Rose & Flower insect killer - hoping that works!!


On Feb 15, 2008, Tyrex from Melbourne,
Australia wrote:

This bug has given me a lot of grief in the vege patch, but this year I tried spraying them with a fairly strong solution of water and dishwashing liquid. It kills them in minutes but you have to go out and spray for a few days or even weeks to break the breeding cycle as they have four breeding cycles a year. first thing in the morning is the best time as they like to sunbake. Plus the solution will only kill what you hit with it, keeping the beneficial insect population intact and its harmless to your vegetables.


On Jan 14, 2008, dbh369 from Norristown, PA wrote:

This bug sucks! Literally. For three years, I've tried to grow kale, broccoli, and/or Brussel sprouts, and these little devils, while beautiful, have destroyed them. I've uploaded a picture with damage for your edification. Most organic controls they have laughed at (will try row covers this year) and even some 'inorganic' ones! Sevin claims to control, my bugs laughed at it. BTW, they are also stink bugs.

I've also heard that you can plant 'bait crops' to attract them, then cover with straw and burn early in the season to knock 'em down. Also, they do not hibernate, so cleaning the garden well between seasons and burning refuse will help...


On Mar 9, 2007, croclover from Lake Forest, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

These little guys are...dare I say...intelligent? They're hard to kill by hand because they can see you, and have this way of walking sideways to dodge you! They ate my Zinnias.


On Oct 18, 2006, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

These are very destructive on Brassica's. They can shred the plants in no time. Damage is most apparent on broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collards, but they can be quite damaging to the rest of the family as well.


On Oct 14, 2006, SandyRN from Blackwood, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Sucked the life out of my cleome, beginning in August. They were prolific and very aggravating.


On Oct 13, 2006, calicorkication from Jonesboro, AR wrote:

I have several of these bugs (nymphs and adults) plus eggs all over my mustard and collard greens. I kill them by hand but it does not deter them. I have read about gardeners using pyrethrum plants as a companion plant to deter/repel these bugs but I have not tried this approach yet. I will try next spring and report back.


On Aug 25, 2006, dayli from Vienna, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Identified by the county ag. program. Beautiful black and red-orange bug--lays small black and white eggs in two rows a dozen or so at a time on the underside of cleome leaf--abslolutely devastates cleome!