African Painted Bugs: Invasive species spreading in California

Bug identification and eradication question (addendum)
September 10, 2009
What is this bug, what destruction does it cause, and how do I eradicate it from my garden in a way that doesn’t negatively affect my vegetable/flower garden? Thanks!  Forget to tell you that I took this picture a few days ago (9/6/09).
Loma Linda, CA

African Painted Bugs
African Painted Bugs

Hi Jane,
We encountered this very same invasive exotic insect on our own Collard Greens and Kale this summer in our Mount Washington, Los Angeles garden.  At that time, we identified it as the Painted Bug, Bagrada hilaris, an African Stink Bug that has been reported in California since 2008.  Then we explained that we had no ethical problem killing invasive exotic insects that devour our food.  We had squashed the few specimens we found, but as we got busy, the population got out of control.  We eventually found hundreds on our plants and we had to rip out the kale and Collard Greens.  The next time we plant vegetables from the cabbage family, we are going to be extremely vigilant to keep the population down to a minimum.  We don’t like to spray our food with pesticide, so we prefer to hand pick offensive species.  Since African Painted Bugs are Stink Bugs that suck juices from plants, when they are quite plentiful, they might kill the plant.    If there are no known predators, the African Painted Bugs might become a very serious agricultural pest in California.

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