“The way Harlequin bugs attack crops is no joking matter,” according to an advisory from the US Department of Agriculture. The insects “damage collards, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, horseradish, arugula, and other popular mustard-family crops.”
Wade Laughter, breeder of a CBD-rich cannabis cultivar that he named Harlequin, commented, “I have identified these bugs in our garden. There were so many I looked them up. Thankfully they did not seem to like the cannabis.”
Some organic farmers plant mustard, which Harlequin bugs also find delectable, to lure them away from valuable vegetables.
When a male Harlequin bug finds food, he releases pheromones alerting others to share the meal. USDA researchers are working on “a synthetic version of the insect’s own aggregation pheromone to trap them directly or to make trap crops [such as mustard] work better.”
Given its black-and-0range coloration, the Harlequin bug might make a more appropriate mascot for the San Francisco Giants than the ridiculous “Lou-Seal.”