I garden every year. The last several years our organic vegetable garden has...

Asked August 19, 2014, 2:06 PM EDT

I garden every year. The last several years our organic vegetable garden has been infested with harlequin bugs. Last year was the worst. I stopped growing most of the greens the bugs love. The harlequins moved on to eating horse radish leaves and the leaves of my breakfast radishes too. This year I planted mustard greens early and left some to self seed. I haven't seen any evidence of the bugs this year. Could the cold winter have killed them? I'd like to plant cabbage and kale again, but not for the bugs to suck the life out. Have other Baltimore county gardeners reported this too?

Baltimore County Maryland vegetables harlequin bugs

1 Response

Insect populations ebb and flow and can be difficult to predict. In general we are not seeing large numbers of insect pests, for example, the brown marmorated stinkbug. However, you will have to be prepared for prevention and control. Clean up old crop debris and cover your transplants with floating row cover to exclude these pests. See our website http://extension.umd.edu/growit/insects/harlequin-bug
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