Meet the bagrada, a very bad, bad bug. If you’ve been with J R Organics for awhile, you may have noticed that some items such as turnips, arugula and kale have been missing from the CSA boxes. In the past, we were able to grow these crops year round, but this nasty little bug is making it impossible.
The bagrada bug is known from Africa, southern Asia, and southern Europe. It was first found in North America in June 2008 in Los Angeles County, California. It has since spread throughout southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. It feeds on a variety of plants in the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) including many important food crops: arugula, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, rutabaga, and turnip.
As this bug is not native to California, there are no natural enemies here that specifically attack it. Spiders and other general predators feed on bagrada bugs; however birds apparently find its taste unpleasant and may avoid eating it. Bagrada bug populations can rapidly increase and biological control alone may not keep its population in check.
We at J R Organics are working diligently to find solutions to this new and very serious problem. I’m so grateful for the wonderful vegetables in my box, but I do miss kale and arugula. I know Joe will find a solution somehow, he always does…