[Market-farming] Harlequin Bugs

Allan Balliett aballiett at frontiernet.net
Tue Dec 4 13:50:58 EST 2007

I've been writing an article on these bastards for the last two 
seasons. We've had plague proportions of them as well.

1st important point in controlling them is to make sure the water you 
use in your sprays is pH neutral and is not 'hard.' Either variation 
will reduce the effectiveness of your sprays.

High quality soaps, sprayed in the right water, can be very 
effective. So is NEEM, in fact, this year, NEEM was much better than 
the soap we used for control.

Most important, I think, is planting trap crops. I don't have the 
recommended varieties on hand as I write this, but there are a couple 
of inexpensive brassicas that are more attractive to harlequins than 
any of the commercial cultivars are. You need to start them about 3 
weeks before the crops you want to protect.

Did you know that harlequins communicate by tapping on plant stems? 
That's one of the reasons you will find them on stressed plants but 
not on healthy plants: stressed plants drum better!

Later -Allan
info at freshandlocalcsa.com

>These nasty little brassica eaters were everywhere this year.  I 
>live in Delaware (Zone 7) and I normally have some harlequin bugs, 
>but this year was over the top...probably because of the unrelenting 
>heat and drought.  We have had several frosts and I am still finding 
>them.  Does anyone have ideas for me?  I do use organic controls. 
>I've tried neem oil, and even some Pyganic (that is as much as I'm 
>willing to use poisons because I hate how my beneficials get knocked 
>out).  It works somewhat, but they are tough.  Is my soil at fault 
>too?  It is sandy loam and I've added green sand and rock phosphate, 
>and need to do more compost at this point.  (I had to row cover 
>everything to keep them marketable and don't grow much in the way of 
>brassicas in mid-summer at all...But the fall plantings were 
>attacked badly.)

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