The Bagrada Bug

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We here at Star Apple just wanted to update you on a particularly pesky and destructive insect that’s made its way up to the Bay Area. It’s a non-native, invasive species called the bagrada bug.

Originally from Africa, this pest first made an appearance in California in 2008 in Los Angeles. Ever since, it has been making its way north and destroying many of our favorite winter vegetable crops, particularly “cole crops” (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) and spicy greens (mustards, bok choy, and arugula). It has been identified in both San Mateo and San Francisco counties, but hasn’t yet been seen in the East Bay.

If you see the bagrada bug in your garden, make sure to take note! Traditional organic insecticides don’t seem to phase it and it is a rapid breeder. If you (or your kids!) aren’t squeamish, we’ve found the best way to kill this pest is by squishing it! We are also encouraging gardeners to hold off on planting bagrada bug favorites such as mustards, Asian greens (bok choy, tatsoi, etc.), and arugula until later in the fall, as this pest tends to disappear once the weather cools down.

The bagrada bug isn’t a cause for panic, but we just thought we should spread the word and give you some information to help you ID this invasive species. If you’d like to read more about the bagrada bug, please check out these two websites:

–Mike and the Star Apple Team