May 2017 – The garden is gone. With our heavy travel schedule, something had to go. Neglected, the collards and kale have been taken over by harlequin bugs, Murgantia histrionica. Harlequin bugs are actually stinkbugs … but pretty stinkbugs.
We arrived home after a month in Indonesia to a struggling garden. This was not unexpected – we harvested a lot before leaving home and didn’t have the heart or time to pull it all up before we left. One of the few drawbacks to our travel: we’re often not home at optimal harvest time. Our neighbors and kids know they are welcome to pick whatever they want – we encourage it. But it is evident that the stinkbugs like the greens way more than our family does.
While picking through the kale and collards to salvage a few meals before we pulled it all up, I saw an adult harlequin bug peeping out of the leaves:
Slowing down, I examined the rest of the leaves one at a time and found a pair, busy making more harlequin bugs. Look just above them and you’ll see the interestingly patterned black and white eggs. There are two more clusters below them.
The barrel-shaped eggs are really small, with the prettiest pattern. Contemplating how I might store these so I could watch them hatch, I was reminded that we were leaving in a couple of days for Dominica. So no stinkbug incubation for me.
My lucky morning! After turning a few more leaves over, I found a bunch of the newly hatched nymphs!
It’s now too hot for the lettuce and greens to thrive and we won’t be home to see the sunflowers bloom. Summer is here.