Pest categorisation of Bagrada hilaris
The EFSA Panel on Plant Health performed a pest categorisation of Bagrada hilaris (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) for the EU territory.
B. hilaris, known as the bagrada bug or painted bug, is a polyphagous pest feeding on at least 25 plant families including several economically important brassica crops such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Other economically important hosts suffering impacts include beans (Fabaceae), wheat and maize (Poaceae). Young plants are particularly vulnerable to adults and nymphs feeding on tender leaves and growing points, which can cause yield losses.
B. hilaris occurs in Africa and Asia and has spread to North America (USA and Mexico) and South America (Chile) where there are multiple generations per year. It is not widely distributed in the EU but has been established in Malta and on the Italian island of Pantelleria, south west of Sicily, since the 1970s where it is an economically important pest of capers.
The reasons why it has not spread further within southern Europe are unknown. B. hilaris is not a regulated pest in the EU. It could further enter and spread within the EU via the import and movement of host plants or as a hitchhiking species forming aggregations in conveyances and amongst non-plant traded goods.
Host availability and climate suitability suggest that, in addition to Malta and Pantelleria, southern areas of the EU around the Mediterranean would also be suitable for B. hilaris establishment. The introduction of B. hilaris to other Mediterranean areas of the EU would likely cause impacts in a range of crops, particularly brassicas. Measures to prevent entry and spread are available.
B. hilaris satisfies all of the criteria that are within the remit of EFSA to assess for it to be regarded as a potential Union quarantine pest.
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