|Damage caused by the bagrada bug on cabbage|
(c) B. Loehr, icipe
Bagrada bugs damage plants by feeding on young leaves. Both adults and nymphs suck sap from leaves, which may wilt and later dry. Considerable damage is caused to young plants, which may die or have the growth points severely damaged. Significant damage may also be caused to older plants.
Bagrada bugs are major pests of cultivated crucifers. Severe infestations on cabbage result in stunted plants, leaves turning yellow with a rough texture, and death of the growing point. As a result, damaged plants do not produce heads or produce two or more small unmarketable heads instead of a large central head.
|Initial symptoms of damage by bagrada bugs . Note small white punctures on the edges of leaves.|
(c) A. M. Varela, icipe
The bugs, especially in the early stages of development, gather in masses and suck the sap from plants. Feeding by the bugs causes small puncture marks visible as white patches starting on the edges of leaves. Eventually the leaves wilt and dry. Heavily attacked plants may have a scorched appearance.
The bagrada bug is a common stinkbug on cabbage, kale, rape, Chinese cabbage, turnips and other crucifers such as radish. It also attacks potatoes, beetroot, papaya, maize, sorghum and pearl millet, legumes and cotton. It has also been recorded as an occasional pest on groundnuts, wheat, and rooibos tea. The bagrada bug has also been reported as a pest of capper (Capparis spinosa) (Colazza et al. 2004).