How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Harlequin bug—Murgantia histrionica

Harlequin bugs are attractive shield-shaped insects in the stink bug family and are usually black with bright red, yellow, or orange markings. Adult bugs are 3/8 inch long.

Identification of species | Life cycle


Harlequin bugs suck fluids from plant tissue. They leave yellow or white blotches on areas of leaves where they have been feeding; heavy infestations can cause plants to wilt, turn brown, and die.


Handpick bugs or their eggs. Eliminate groundcovers or weedy areas (especially mustards) in early spring before populations build up. Destroy old cole crop plants and mustards because they provide breeding areas. Insecticides are generally not recommended in gardens for stink bugs. Parasites and general predators may contribute to control.

Harlequin bug adult
Harlequin bug adult

Yello blotch caused by harlequin feeding
Yellow blotch caused by harlequin feeding

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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