Bug likes hot pepper plants
Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 4:16 AM
Hi Bugman. I have seen these bugs convene on my habanero pepper plants in late September / early October. I’ve counted as many as 25 on one small plant. They don’t appear to be eating any part of the plant. Are they using the plant for “cover” (protection / camouflage.) Can you tell me what the name of this bug is. Thank you.
Eastern North Carolina Pitt County
This is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae. It is one of the species in the genus Leptoglossus. The best known species in this family is the Western Conifer Seed Bug, but your specimen appears to be Leptoglossus phyllopus which does not have a common name. This species is found in the southern states west to California and is easily distinguished from its relatives by the white bar across the wings. According to BugGuide: “Nymphs and adults suck juices from a variety of plants. This bug is particularly noted as a pest on citrus, on which it causes premature fruit drop, but also known to damage many other crops and ornamental plants. Apparently most common on thistle in FL, and on Yucca in KS .” We have gotten numerous reports of the species in association with tomato plants, even in our own garden, and since peppers are in the same family, Solanacea, your example is understandable. It may not appear that Leptoglossus phyllopus is doing damage to your plants since they don’t chew, but rather suck the juices from the plants. We have also seen this species in association with the ripe fruit of pomegranate. When they pierce the skin of the fruit, they secrete enzymes which causes bruise-like damage to the fruit.