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What Are Leaf-Footed Bugs and Are They Harmful?

I’ve grown many fruit timber through the years and have needed to take care of many pests alongside the way in which.

What Are Leaf-Footed Bugs?

Have you ever seen clusters of pink or brown bugs hanging out on the fruits of your fruit tree? They might be leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus spp.). They are not the worst pest to have, however they’re unpleasant (on the very least) and may injury your fruit. Study all about what they’re, how you can determine them, and how you can eliminate them.

See more: Are leaf footed bugs harmful

Fast Details

Scientific title: Leptoglossus spp. (Coreidae household)

Frequent title: Leaf-footed bug

Dimension: 1/2 to three/4 in (15-20 mm)

Look: Distinguishing options embody leaf-like protrusion on every hind leg, lengthy antennae, white markings throughout the again (notably in maturity).

Area: Largely in southern and southwestern United States, together with North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and California.

What do they eat? Crops and fruit (some species specialise in sure fruits, like tomatoes or pomegranates).

The right way to Determine Leaf-Footed Bugs


The eggs are normally laid alongside stems or the ridges on leaves. They seem as brief chains of small and brown cylinders.


When younger, they’ve assorted coloration that ranges from light-yellow to orange to vivid pink. Their physique seems spherical somewhat than flat. You may additionally discover a few black spots down the center of their again in the direction of the underside.


The instars look much like nymphs—with comparable markings—however are a bit bigger. They might not have the intense coloration of nymphs and infrequently are light-brown or tan in coloration.


Adults have a flat, leaf-like physique form and might be brown, grey, or black, relying on the species. Most can have a white band throughout the width of their again. You may additionally see leaf-like growths on their again legs.

Leaf-Footed Bug vs. Murderer Bug vs. Stink Bug

Are Leaf-Footed Bugs Dangerous?

No, they aren’t dangerous to people. Additionally they do minimal injury in your backyard except the inhabitants will get uncontrolled. Their needle-like bites into fruits and leaves are normally laborious to see and might be tolerated normally.

Can They Chunk?

Though they’ve mouthparts designed to pierce, leaf-footed bugs don’t chew people or different animals, they usually solely use them to suck juices from leaves, stems, and fruit.

Are They Toxic?

Leaf-footed bugs aren’t toxic, and there’s no proof that they carry parasites or human ailments, though it is not inconceivable.

Nevertheless, they will simply be mistaken for murderer bugs that do carry Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas illness. Murderer bugs infect people with the illness by defecating after biting the face close to the eyes or mouth (therefore the title “kissing bug”).

Can They Fly?

They’ll fly, however you will not discover them zipping round like a fly would. More often than not, you may discover them resting or crawling in your vegetation.

The right way to Management Leaf-Footed Bugs

Though they’re actually gross and may do numerous injury if the inhabitants is not managed, eliminating them is not at all times needed. Take into account that utilizing pesticides could eliminate bees and different helpful bugs in addition to the dangerous ones. As well as, they’re typically drawn to ripe fruit (after they’re nearly prepared for harvest). Utilizing pesticides on this interval can pose extra of a risk to customers than the bugs and is normally warned towards on bug spray labels.

If they are not doing an excessive amount of hurt, it is best to go away them be. But when there are too many round, otherwise you simply don’t need them close to your fruit, listed below are some straightforward methods to eliminate them.

1. Catch them by hand.

Though they will fly, they’re slow-moving and are most frequently discovered crawling or standing nonetheless. You possibly can catch them by hand or entice them in plastic containers. As soon as caught, you possibly can kill them by squashing or drowning them. I recommend carrying gloves and a masks as a result of they may emit a foul odor (assume burning rubber) when squashed—much like stink bugs. Many individuals additionally liken the scent to coriander and cilantro.

2. Plant companion crops.

I have never tried this myself, however some gardeners have discovered that sunflowers can entice leaf-footed bugs. Planting some sunflowers close by can draw the bugs away out of your fruit, permitting you to both catch them or spray them with insecticide.

3. Welcome pure predators.

Creatures like birds and spiders—and even different bugs—will prey on leaf-footed bugs. I’ve discovered fairly a number of which have been caught in spider webs all through my pomegranate tree. Because of this, I’ve stopped eradicating the webs in my backyard and have kept away from utilizing bug sprays. The spiders are literally serving to somewhat than hurting!

4. Discover and take away the eggs.

Irrespective of what number of bugs you catch, they will hold coming again in the event you do not eliminate the eggs. Search for brief, skinny rows of cylindrical, brown eggs on branches, stems, and leaves. Merely scrape them off and toss them in some soapy water or bleach resolution.

5. Take away weeds and pure bug shelters.

Leaf-footed bugs feed on weeds when no fruit are round (i.e. throughout the winter). Additionally they conceal underneath in sheds, stockpiles of wooden, and underneath unfastened bark—mainly, anyplace that may present cowl from the weather over the winter. They’re hardy bugs, and adults can survive winter frosts if they will discover shelter.

Clear up your yard earlier than the winter. Examine piles of wooden and different particles, in addition to underneath unfastened bark on timber and in your shed and different storage areas. Take away them by hand or use a broad-spectrum insecticide to forestall them from hiding. Take away weeds or forestall them from rising at the beginning of spring.

6. Use plant covers.

When timed appropriately, protecting your fruit vegetation with mild mesh materials can forestall bugs from nesting on them. Nevertheless, this may also forestall pollinators and different helpful bugs from accessing the vegetation, which permits aphid populations to construct up. Once more, you may need to weigh the prices and advantages of eradicating leaf-footed bugs.

7. Spray pesticides—solely as a final resort.

As talked about, pesticides are normally not needed and may do extra hurt than good. If the inhabitants of leaf-footed bugs is uncontrolled, or in the event you actually simply don’t need them in your backyard, use pesticides on the nymphs (the orange- or red-bodied bugs). In response to the College of California Division of Agriculture and Pure Assets, broad-spectrum, pyrethroid-based pesticides like permethrin are handiest.

This content material is correct and true to one of the best of the writer’s information and isn’t meant to substitute for formal and individualized recommendation from a professional skilled.


Rebecca Burnett from Bryan Texad on July 04, 2020:

I’m not the gardener however am studying, I noticed Leaf Footed bugs on our tomato vegetation 2 weeks in the past and would attempt to catch it and make it fly off ( no use I do know lol) and stink bugs too. I needed to are likely to the watering of the vegetation for a few week and seen brown leaves at first, not simply on the backside. Then I began noticing black spherical detachable specks on the limbed branches of tomatoe plant and again of leaves and on the tomatoes. Two tomatoes had worms in them.

cat on June 28, 2020:

How are you going to inform the male from feminine leaf-footed bug? We have solely discovered one on our tomatillos – to date. I am going to examine for eggs on the market, but when it is not feminine, could be good to not have to look at for them.

Loc Nguyen (writer) on August 27, 2019:

Sure, you possibly can completely do this, however that is solely a short lived repair. They may absolutely hold coming again except you might be doing this each day (or each different day).

Kathi Barry on August 26, 2019:

Does spraying them off the plant with water spray assist in any respect?

Loc Nguyen (writer) on August 23, 2018:

Thanks for the suggestions!

Mickey Nguyen from San Francisco, Bay Space on August 22, 2018:

Strong information!!

Loc Nguyen (writer) on August 20, 2018:

Thanks to your remark. Glad you loved it!

Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on August 19, 2018:

I am not a gardener however this can be a good learn. Stunning footage, too.

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