CHGC member Sue came to an outing armed with images of this rather pretty critter and wanted to know what it was. It’s a bad guy, commonly known as Harlequin Bug, Dindymus versicolor and can really wreck havoc on succulent new growth – in Sue’s case, her broadbeans.
Sometimes these insects are known as Pull me/Push you Bugs.
Their range is throughout Eastern Australia. The adult is a black and red bug, about 1/2cm long. This bug sucks sap from young plants and their excrement (frass) disfigures fruit. They are also found on fences, wood piles and tree trunks and often overwinter in such places.
Damage from these critters can cause wilt and often leads to the death of the plant, and fruit is also damaged.
Sue found that a simple spray of pyrethrum did the trick for her ‘they dropped like flies’ she said.
If you would like further reading about this critter it can be found on this blog Gippsland Gardener, an excellent article and includes Gardening Australia’s Peter Cundell’s tip on their control.