This insect has seriously damaged my kale, and almost killed my brussel sprouts in less than a week. What is it, and how can I control it. My garden is organic, so a non-chemical solution is preferable. Diatomaceous earth does not appear to phase them.

a nasty little bugger that is killing my kale and brussel sprouts

  • Here is a comment I made to the comment left by pnuts yesterday. I deleted the comment because it had a misspelling, and I could not figure out how to edit it.-- Yes, that certainly looks like it. The one on the right in this link you provided (wikiwand.com/en/Harlequin_cabbage_bug). This insect appears to be the Harlequin cabbage bug, and they are particularly destructive to cabbage-related crops, which explains why they've done so much damage to my kale and brussel sprouts. pnuts, if you answer the question I will mark your answer as correct. Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


This insect is the Harlequin cabbage bug. After examining the picture linked to by pnuts, I returned to the garden and found instances of both versions of this bug. I assume that these two colorations represent the adult male and female forms of the insect.

These are highly destructive pests, both in their adult and nymph forms. The simplest way to control them is to pick them off of your plants and either crush them or drown them in soapy water. Here is a longer list of organic ways to control this undesirable insect:

If your infestation is large (like mine), manually dealing with these bugs is more problematic. Here is another list of eradication options, including insecticidal soap.

  • Since this post I started picking the bugs off the plants when I find them. I do this every other day, and often find a small number of bugs. This has worked well. I am hoping that once I break the cycle of reproduction that I will stop finding the bugs altogether. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 21:59

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