Beetles Covering All My Junipers!
July 3, 2010
These bugs/beetles showed up a couple of days ago. They are covering almost all of the bush and they are on all of the junipers, but on the Pinon Pine trees. At first glance from a distance we thought they were bees,. They sometimes fly up a ways and hover around the juniper bush and then land again. I can’t see them actually eating on the leaves or berries. We seem to have two types of native junipers on the property. One has blueish berries, and the other doesn’t have berries and is more scraggly, I think they are both California Junipers.
Randy & Leilani
California High Desert Mountains
Hi Randy and Leilani,
Your insect is one of the Leaf-Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus. We believe it is Leptoglossus clypealis based on information posted to BugGuide, which indicates: “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species” though it is somewhat difficult to make out this physical feature in your photograph. BugGuide does not provide a common name for the species, and the remarks include: “Can be a pest in pistacio and almond orchards because it feeds on the nuts.” If we turn to our print sources for information, there is a species called the Western Leaf-Footed Bug, Leptoglossus clypealus, mentioned by Charles Hogue in his wonderful book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. We suspect that the two species are the same, but BugGuide does not list the Hogue spelling as an alternative. Hogue writes: “It is usually found on junipers in the more arid eastern portions of the basin.” There is no indication in either Hogue or BugGuide as to what the insects feeds upon on the juniper. It is our own experience that the Western Leaf-Footed Bug feeds on the fruit of pomegranates and tomatoes, causing unsightly bruising of the fruit because of the digestive enzymes that are injected into the fruit when the insect feeds with its piercing and sucking mouthparts. According to the Illinois Natural History Survey website: “Although it may occur in large numbers, this species is normally not a serious pest. It can, however, damage pistachio and almond seeds when populations are large.” More information can be found on the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program website.