Subject: African Painted Beetle?
Location: Green Valley, CA 91390
August 16, 2012 3:00 pm
Has there been any breakthrough in eradicating these beetles? I am an organic gardener and have been infested with these bugs in my Salad bed. These little beasties seem to be particular to my lettuce, spinach, and beets which have fallen prey to them. However, I have yet to spot serious damage, the volume and reproduction of these are immense and will soon be overwhelming my little garden. Any suggestions?
Signature: Jenn Green
When we first reported African Painted Bugs, Bagrada hilaris, which are True Bugs and not Beetles, in our own garden back in 2009, we suspected that they might soon become a major agricultural threat in Southern California. These tiny Stink Bugs reproduce at a prodigious rate, and nearly all adults can be found in flagrante delicto as your photo indicates. These tiny Stink Bugs avoid capture by dropping to the ground and quickly escaping. We eliminated them from our garden using drastic methods. We pulled out all the plants upon which they were found feeding, which was kale and collards, leaving no close food source for them to feed upon. We have found them in nearby open space feeding upon mustard which is also a member of the cabbage family. African Painted Bugs feed on many plants in the cabbage family and that includes many forms of produce in home gardens. We realize you do organic gardening, so we might suggest spraying the plants with a solution of water with a few drops of organic dish soap. This might do the trick. Good luck. We still believe that once they are firmly established, the African Painted Bugs will wreak havoc on our California agricultural crops. You may also get some helpful information from this LA Times Article on the African Painted Bugs.