Harlequin Bugs are native to North America, originally found in Mexico. The range now includes most of the continent. Adults overwinter and become active when warmer weather arrives in spring. Northern populations produce one generation a year, while Southern populations can produce up to three. The colorful nymphs actively feed all summer.
Both adults and nymphs can be found in orchards, citrus groves, farms, gardens, meadows and fields. They are a major agricultural pest and damage a variety of food crops. The insect pierces the soft spots of plants and then drinks its juices. Some popular food choices for this insect include: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, potatoes, beets, beans, grapes, summer squash, zucchini, horseradish, sunflowers, ragweed and citrus leaves.