New Insect Has Crossed the Border — Twice
South Texas is more than a port of entry for more than human life; it is also guarded for the entry of insects. For that reason, Texas A&M and other universities are always on the lookout for new bug species – and another one has reared its tiny, ugly head.
This creature is the bragada bug, a variety of stink bug that is harmful to food crops. It eats the leaves of plants, making it impossible for plants to reproduce effectively, and is a threat to winter vegetables like broccoli and lettuces.
“It comes to us from Mexico, but unlike many other invasive species, it was first reported in California then El Paso, moved into Mexico, then to the Rio Grande Valley.” said Dr. Raul Villanueva, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist working in Weslaco.
First detected on the west coast in 2008, it has already done plenty of damage. The bragada bug is native to Africa, and resembles the family of stink bugs with a trademark “shield” shape and a glossy dark brown body. The bug is less than half the length of a pinky fingernail, but can reproduce easily and travels well. Both factors make it an insect to watch, beyond south Texas.