Garden bug infestation
Location: Southern California
August 25, 2010 11:02 pm
I recently discovered an infestation in my flower garden by an unknown critter. I was hoping you would be able to identify him and let me know if he is safe to have around pets. The bug has wings and is able to fly for short spurts, he does not appear to like water and retreats up the wall when the sprinklers come on. They do however reproduce quickly as the population exploded unannounced and they are the size of my smallest fingernail.
When the Painted Bug, Bagrada hilaris, first appeared in our own Southern California garden last year, we quickly identified it as one of the most recent invasive exotic species to become established in California. The African Painted Bug feeds on plants in the cabbage family, and it proliferated on our kale and collard greens. In the wild, it will survive on black mustard which is found growing in open spaces throughout Southern California, so it would seem this potentially serious agricultural pest is here to stay. See BugGuide for more information.