Sweet alyssum has been used by producers for a long time to attract natural defenses for agriculture pests. Cal Poly State University professor David Headrick says some research is showing that beneficial insects aren’t the only pest attracted to the plant. The bagrada bug seems to be interested in the plant as well but it is unclear to what extent. Headrick says producers with crops that are on the host list for the bagrada bug that are also using sweet alyssum need to keep an eye on the practice.
More About Bagrada Bug
The UC Integrated Pest Management website says the Bagrada bug, Bagrada hilaris, also called the painted bug, is a stink bug that attacks various vegetable crops, weedy mustards and several ornamental plants within the mustard family (Brassicaceae) such as sweet alyssum, stock, and candytuft. It is particularly devastating to young seedlings and leafy mustard greens.
Bagrada bugs often infest wild mustard weeds, which are pervasive in California on hillsides and in agricultural corridors in late winter to early spring. Populations rapidly increase in the weeds when seasonal temperatures rise. Record numbers of bugs can invade newly planted cole crops after mustard weeds dry out in late summer. Read more from UC IPM.