Leaf-footed bugs are a type of insect known for their distinctive hind legs, which resemble leaves. These bugs belong to the family Coreidae and are medium to large in size. They are often found feeding on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and ornamental plants using their piercing-sucking mouthparts to extract nutrients from seeds and other plant parts.
While they might look intimidating, the good news is that leaf-footed bugs do not bite humans. They are not known for being a threat to people, unlike some other insects such as mosquitoes. However, they can cause damage to crops and gardens, making them a nuisance for farmers and gardeners alike.
It’s essential to differentiate leaf-footed bugs from similar looking insects, like assassin bugs, which are beneficial. Assassin bugs help control pests by feeding on other insects. Recognizing the differences between these bugs can save you from accidentally eliminating the helpful species in your garden.
What Are Leaf Footed Bugs
Identification and Unique Appearance
Leaf-footed bugs belong to the Hemiptera order and the Leptoglossus genus. They are called “leaf-footed” because part of their hind legs is wide and flat, resembling a leaf. This leaf-like expansion is believed to help males in fighting for females (source). Here are some unique characteristics:
- Length: 1/2 to 3/4 inch
- Hind legs: Wide and flat leaf-like expansions
- Wings: Yes, but nymphs do not have wings
Camouflage and Coloration
Adult leaf-footed bugs usually display a brown coloration, which aids them in camouflaging with their environment. On the other hand, nymphs can have a color range from deep orange to light brown (source).
Comparison Table: Adults vs. Nymphs
|1/2 to 3/4 inch
|Smaller than adults
|Leaf-like hind legs
|Deep orange to light brown
Leaf-footed bugs are sometimes mistaken for assassin bugs, which are beneficial insects that feed on other insect pests. Recognizing leaf-footed bugs correctly is essential, as they can cause damage to various plants, including tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, beans, okra, and pecans (source).
Do Leaf Footed Bugs Bite
Leaf footed bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts that they use for feeding on plant parts, particularly seeds1. However, unlike some other insects with similar mouthparts, they don’t typically bite humans.
Harmless to Humans
These insects are generally harmless to humans and won’t pose any threat2. Should they ever mistakenly bite you in a rare situation, it’s not a cause for concern. Their primary focus is on feeding from plants, not people.
Comparison to Assassin Bugs
Leaf footed bug nymphs are often mistaken for assassin bugs due to their similar appearance3. Here are some key differences:
- Assassin bugs are beneficial insects that feed on other insect pests4.
- Leaf footed bugs feed on plants, fruits, and seeds5.
Comparison to Kissing Bugs
While leaf footed bugs are harmless, kissing bugs may pose some health risks due to their potential to transmit a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi6. Here is a comparison table:
|Leaf Footed Bugs
|Harmful to Humans
In summary, leaf footed bugs have piercing mouthparts and are harmless to humans. On the other hand, assassin bugs are beneficial insects that prey on other insect pests, while kissing bugs might pose some health risks if they bite humans.
Feeding and Damage
Fruits and Vegetables Affected
Leaf-footed bugs are known to damage various fruits and vegetables, including:
- Citrus fruits
These pests are common in North America and can cause significant damage to crops.
Piercing-Sucking Mouthparts and Plant Juices
The feeding process of leaf-footed bugs involves their piercing-sucking mouthparts. These insects puncture plant tissues and then extract the plant juices. This feeding style is similar to that of stink bugs. Some key differences between leaf-footed bugs and stink bugs are:
- Leaf-footed bugs have larger, more noticeable hind legs
- Stink bugs produce a strong, unpleasant odor when threatened
- Leaf-footed bugs are often found on woodpiles, whereas stink bugs prefer crops
Damage to Nuts and Seeds
When leaf-footed bugs target nuts and seeds, they can cause significant damage. These bugs feed on almonds and pistachios, causing the nuts to become malformed or drop prematurely from the trees. This leads to reduced crop yields and economic losses for farmers. To manage these pests, it’s essential to monitor their populations and implement appropriate control measures.
Here’s a comparison table to highlight the differences and similarities between leaf-footed bugs and stink bugs:
|Doesn’t produce a strong odor
|Produces a strong, unpleasant odor
|Type of damage
|Targets fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds
|Targets fruits and vegetables
Life Cycle and Reproduction
Eggs and Nymphs
Leaf-footed bugs belong to the family Coreidae. Their reproduction starts with females laying eggs. The eggs are golden brown and laid in a single row or chain, usually found along a stem or the underside of a leaf1.
Once the eggs hatch, nymphs emerge. These nymphs look different from the adult bugs but share some similarities, such as the leaf-like expansions on their hind legs.
Life Cycle Stages and Instar
The life cycle of leaf-footed bugs consists of five stages, known as instars2. Each stage represents a different phase of nymph development, with the bugs growing larger and more closely resembling adults in each stage.
Some key changes between the stages are:
- Size increases
- Color changes
- Wings development
Laying Eggs and Aggregations
For the genus Leptoglossus, the wide, flat hind legs may aid males in fighting for females for mating opportunities.
Once eggs are laid, it’s common for leaf-footed bugs to aggregate in clumps throughout various stages of their life cycle3. These aggregations can be a useful way to identify and control infestations, particularly before harvest.
In summary, leaf-footed bugs reproduce through laying eggs, with nymphs emerging and developing through five instar stages before reaching adulthood. These insects are often found in aggregations from egg-laying to adulthood, which can be used for monitoring and control purposes.
Management and Prevention
Natural Enemies and Predators
One way to manage leaffooted bug populations is by encouraging their natural enemies such as the parasitic fly, Trichopoda pennipes. These flies lay their eggs on adult bugs, and the larvae consume the host insect. Consider the following:
- Plant flowering species to attract these beneficial insects.
- Regularly inspect your plants for eggs and nymphs.
Insecticidal Soap and Pesticides
Another management option is to use insecticidal soap or pesticides. These products should be used cautiously, as they can also harm non-target species.
- Effective in controlling pests.
- Can be used in combination with other management methods.
- May harm beneficial insects.
- Requires careful application to avoid damage to plants.
Physical Barriers and Row Covers
Covering your plants with row covers can help prevent leaf-footed bugs from accessing them. Physically removing and disposing of bugs, eggs, and nymphs can also be effective. Be aware of:
- Row covers need to be placed when pests are most active.
- Periodically check for unwanted pests under the covers.
|Eco-friendly; long-term solution
|May take time to establish
|Effective control of pests
|May harm non-target organisms
|No chemicals; reusable
|May limit growth or hinder pollination
Habitat and Distribution
North America and Western Conifer Seed Bug
Leaf-footed bugs are commonly found in North America, with the Western Conifer Seed Bug being a prominent species in this region. These insects typically reside in coniferous forests and wooded areas:
- Primary habitat: coniferous forests
- Secondary habitat: wooded backyards, woodpiles
Western Conifer Seed Bugs are distinguishable by their:
- Large size (16-21mm)
- Brownish-orange color
- Hind legs with flat, leaf-like protrusions
Ornamentals, Shrubs, and Trees
Leaf-footed bugs can also be found on ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees, where they feed on fruits, seeds, and plant sap. Examples of plants they are attracted to include:
- Ornamentals: roses, chrysanthemums
- Shrubs: hibiscus, azaleas
- Trees: palm trees, citrus trees
To manage and control leaf-footed bug populations, some effective methods include:
- Using row covers on vulnerable plants
- Regularly checking woodpiles and shrubs for signs of infestation
- Removing and destroying infested plant material
- Methods may require time and effort to implement and maintain
- Row covers may not be aesthetically pleasing
- Complete eradication is usually challenging
|Western Conifer Seed Bug
|Other Leaf-Footed Bugs
|Hind legs with leaf-like protrusions
|Flat, wide expansions on hind legs
|Preferred plant types
|Ornamentals, shrubs, and trees
By understanding the habitats and distribution of leaf-footed bugs, it becomes easier to recognize and manage infestations in gardens and landscapes.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Leaf Footed Bug bites gardener
this bug was in my dad’s vegtable garden.
June 27, 2010
the bug lives vegtables , i t bit my dad and his hand swoll up for a couple of days, we live in tampa florida.
This is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus. We find your letter quite interesting because this is a plant feeding species, not a predator. It tends to be the predatory True Bugs that bite, like Assassin Bugs and Toe-Biters. We have not heard of a Leaf Footed Bug biting a person, however, they have piercing mouthparts that would be capable of biting.
Letter 2 – Leaf Footed Bug
Is this assassin bug?
November 10, 2009
This was on our Ann Arbor, Michigan porch on Nov 9th during a warm spell.
My husband thought it might be an assassin bug. I thought it looked fascinating. Haven’t seen anything like it before.
Ann Arbor Michigan
Your visitor is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the genus Acanthocephala, most probably Acanthocephala terminalis, probably the northernmost ranging member of the genus. You may compare your insect to some images on BugGuide. The light orange terminal segment of the antennae is a distinguishing feature.
Letter 3 – Leaf Footed Bug
Unknown bug, Like large squash bug.
Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 12:51 PM
Can you help identify this bug? It is like a very large squash bug and he he is gray on the top, has a white belly with a few greenish, blueish speckles on the bottom. It is about an inch and a half from head to tail.
An intellegent kid with his mom
Dear Intelligent Kid,
Your insect is a Leaf Footed Bug or Big Legged Bug in the family Coreidae. The species is Acanthocephala declivis and it does not have a common name. You can verify the identification based on photos posted to BugGuide.
Letter 4 – Leaf Footed Bug
Can’t find in your myriad beetles
O.K. guys, I tried, really I did. 18 pages of beetles, stinkbugs, walkingsticks, leafbugs, I’ve looked and looked! My wife is starting to call me Grissom… I did, however, I.D. what I thought was a cicada of some sort as a Pine Borer, so thanks! I really enjoyed all the grasshoppers, too. This beetle (?) has been hanging out on my Butterfly Bush [buddleia] along with two of his friends for about two or three weeks. About an inch and a half long, very docile. Can’t see any particular reason they’re staying there, and do not appear to be causing any harm to the plant.
North Port, FL (Southwest FL)
Also attached a pic of a Lubber I think is pretty good if you want to use it.
This is not a beetle. It is a True Bug in the family Coreidae, known as Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs. It is in the genus Acanthocephala. We are not certain of the species as there are at least four similar looking species in Florida according to BugGuide. Here is a BugGuide recommended University of Florida website if you want to try to key the species yourself.
Letter 5 – Leaf Footed Bug
Subject: leaf-footed bug
Location: Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish, La. (near New Orleans)
December 5, 2012 12:25 am
I’m pretty sure this is a leaf-footed bug, but don’t know what kind. It doesn’t seem to have the white ”belts” of Leptoglossus phyllopus or zonatus, which seem to be the most common in Louisiana. And it has rounded wings, and doesn’t have the sorta swallowtail coat look of those bugs.
Signature: Janet McConnaughey
You are correct that this is a Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, but it is not in the genus Leptoglossus. This individual is in the genus Acanthocephala and you can see some matching images on BugGuide.
Letter 6 – Leaf Footed Bug
Is this an Assasin bug?
Hi There! I’ve been trying to identify this bug, and I am fairly sure it’s an Assasin bug of some sort. It was quite large, although I did see one even larger (no camera though!) It doesn’t have the typical leafy leg decor, so I pretty sure it’s not a leaf leg bug. And he also doesn’t have a lighter tip on his antenna. I live in NW Georgia. I found this guy on my Pyrracantha during the summer, and he stayed there for weeks. Thanks for your input!
We wrote to Eric Eaton who correctly identified your: “This is not an assassin bug, though. It is a male Acanthocephala species, family Coreidae (leaf-footed bugs). Males have greatly swollen hind femora (“thighs”) armed with spikes and teeth, which they use in battles over females. Both genders have leaf-like flanges on the hind tibia (“shins”). Neat bugs, totally harmless, feed on seeds mostly.”
Letter 7 – Leaf Footed Bug
I was in Austin TX this summer and took a picture of a good reason that I don’t live there. This guy was on our hotel sliding glass door (the outside thankfully). From looking through the pages, and being a regular visitor to your site (which I love), I believe it is some sort of wheel bug or assassin bug, but it doesn’t have the serrated thingy on the back. Am I close? I also thought they were pretty good pictures. J Thanks for all your time and effort. It really is a great site and I have learned so much by visiting, which knowledge has had a direct relationship to the safety of critters in my home and garden.
Thanks for your nice letter. This isn’t a Wheel Bug, but a Leaf Footed Bug, genus Acanthocephala. They are also known as Coreid Bugs or Big Legged Bugs.
Letter 8 – Leaf Footed Bug
Help identifying an assassin bug
These are occasionally in my yard. I’ve been trying to identify them and haven’t had any luck.
Cutler Bay, FL
What a magnificent specimen. This is not an Assassin Bug, but rather, a member of the Coreid Bug Family, commonly called Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs. The species is new to us, but we identified it on BugGuide as belonging to the genus Chondrocera. A link provided by BugGuide indicates that Chondrocera laticornis is the only species in the genus thusfar reported from Florida and that it is “readily distinguished by the prominently expanded and flattened first three antennal segments” which are quite evident in your photograph.
Letter 9 – Leaf Footed Bug
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.
Letter 10 – Leaf Footed Bug
Please I.D. this one
July 23, 2009
There are ten or more on my tomato plants.
Aiken, SC USA
Dear Dear Noah,
This is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus. The Western Conifer Seed Bug is a common ID request from this genus, but your species is, we believe, Leptoglossus phyllopus, based on images posted to BugGuide and the distribution map. 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.”
Letter 11 – Leaf Footed Bug
Unknown bug species
October 3, 2009
My mother in law found this bug on her Pomegranite tree in her front yard on 10/2/09. She has lived at that house for 40 years and has never seen this bug before.
Long Beach, California
This is an adult Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus. We just posted an image of immature nymphs feeding on tomatoes.
Letter 12 – Leaf Footed Bug
What kind of insect is this
Location: Stuart, Florida
November 13, 2010 10:43 am
This was on the back window of my car in Stuart, FL. Have never seen anything like it.
Signature: Thank you, M
Even though your photo is blurry, it represents a new species of Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae for our website, so we are very happy to post your letter and photo. We have identified this Leaf Footed Bug as Chondrocera laticornis, and BugGuide only reports it from Florida.
Letter 13 – Leaf Footed Bug
What type of bug is is BugMan
December 12, 2010 10:24 am
I work in the produce department of a grocery store and I found this bug in a case of green kale with ice in it. It wasn’t moving but a suspected that it went into a sleep state like that toad or frog buries itself during winter and thaws during spring. So I took the bug to the back room and hour by hour it started to gain mobility. I would like to know some information on this bug please.
Signature: Manav Rajrishi
Because you neglected to provide us with a location, and the most helpful information would have been the location where the kale originated, we are unable to provide you with a species identification. We are not even certain if this discovery was in North America. Without being too specific, this is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus. This genus includes several members that will seek shelter when cold weather arrives, and they will hibernate until the following spring.
Letter 14 – Leaf Footed Bug
Big Bug on North Texas Rose Bush
Location: North Texas
April 10, 2011 8:03 pm
I have found his bug on my rose bush three days in a row now. The roses he sits on tend to bloom brown and die quickly after. You can see the bloom behind him is browned and sickly looking. He only sits out there after the sun sets and throughout the night. The flash from the camera seemed to scare him down into the rose bush. I am hoping you can give me an answer to what kind of bug it is and if he is the demise to my roses? Also, if he is hurting the roses how do I get rid of him without use of harmful chemicals?
(harmful to him, not to me though)
Signature: Bugs and Roses
Dear Bugs and Roses,
You have one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus. There are several possible species that are found in Texas. You can refer to BugGuide for additional information. Like other True Bugs, these Leaf Footed Bugs feed by sucking juices from plants, and they inject an enzyme that causes withering of plants when they feed. Though we have not heard of roses as a host plant, the damage you describe is very consistent with the damage that occurs to pomegranate and tomato fruits when the Leaf Footed Bugs feed upon them. We do not give extermination advice. We would suggest hand picking the Leaf Footed Bugs to remove them from your rose bushes.
Letter 15 – Leaf Footed Bug
Bug with leaflike legs on passionflower
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fl
June 5, 2011 9:23 am
This is not the first time I’ve seen these leaflike bugs on my Passiflora edulis flowers. This photo was taken in late May in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They don’t appear to be doing any damage. Do you know what they are?
Your description was quite accurate because this insect, Chondrocera laticornis, is in the family Coreidae and the members are commonly called Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs, and in the case of some tropical species, Flag Footed Bugs. You can find more images on BugGuide where we identified it.
Letter 16 – Leaf-Footed Bug
the western leaffooted bug grew up
Location: South Pasadena
June 18, 2011 1:55 am
Here are later stages of development of the bug I previously submitted. It has since left the sunflower, either making use of wings or serving as bird food.
Thanks for adding to your previous posting of the stages of growth for this Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus, now correctly identified. According to BugGuide: “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive. Also has a zigzagging white band across the wings (like some other species). Expansions of the hind tibiae are also much larger and more jagged than most other species.” Your photo of the adult definitely shows the two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum.
Letter 17 – Leaf Footed Bug
Tomato Plant Bug
June 19, 2011 8:22 am
I found some of these bugs on my tomato plants and haven’t been able to identify them. The bug is about an inch long, and has what appears to be a piercing mouth part (not visible in this photo). They can fly.
Just yesterday, we posted several photos of this species of Leaf Footed Bug, Leptoglossus zonatus, that were submitted by a reader from South Pasadena California. Those images were an update from a previous posting that is documenting the stages of the incomplete metamorphosis of this species. According to BugGuide: “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive” and this distinguishing feature is very clearly visible in your photograph. According to BugGuide, it is: “Very polyphagous, and can damage many fruit, vegetable, and field crops.
It feeds on the flowers and fruit of its host plants, which include oranges, limes, guava, avocado, pomegranate, melons, cotton, sorghum, corn, tomato, cucurbits, eggplant, and Chinese tallow” and it is “Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.” The original range for Leptoglossus zonatus, includes the southwestern states of California, Arizona and east to Texas as well as south through Mexico to Brazil, but it is “now spreading into southeastern states.” It was first reported in Louisiana in 1996 and in Florida in 2005. The species has the potential to severely affect many agricultural crops in Florida. In California, we find this species on pomegranate. The piercing mouthparts are used to inject an enzyme or other substance into the fruit causing unsightly blemishes as well as degraded quality to the flesh of the fruit. This is our own first hand observation, and not something we have read in any literature.
Thank you for your quick reply and help! Yes, that’s my bug! I’d never seen anything like it before. I had gotten as far as figuring that it was in the True Bugs group, but that was all. I looked at photos on your site of immature Leaf Footed Bugs and immediately recognized them–I saw some of them on my tomato plants at one point, but never would have associated those little reddish orange bugs with the big brown ones I’m seeing now.
Letter 18 – Leaf Footed Bug
Location: Lake Travis in Central Texas
October 26, 2011 9:35 pm
Help! I came across this beautiful bug while camping on Lake Travis in Central Texas earlier this month. It is obviously a bug with good taste since it is hanging out on a prickly pear cactus tuna. My guess is that it is a stinker or a leaffooted something but I don’t know what kind of stinker exactly.
Signature: Karen Sue
Dear Karen Sue,
This is an immature Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, and we believe it is in the genus Leptoglossus. It might be Leptoglossus clypealis based on the structure of the head. According to BugGuide: “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species.” It is difficult to be certain that your specimen has this tylus because of the angle of the photo. Also, since your individual is an immature nymph, exact species identification may be difficult.
Letter 19 – Leaf Footed Bug
Unusual bug… Need help!
Location: Orange, CA
December 8, 2011 6:02 pm
My daughter and I were on a walk recently and came across this bug. I have never seen anything like it before. It was beatiful and strange and we spent about 10 minutes watching it. I am adventurous and tried to pick it up but it refused to climb on my hand and then tried unsuccessfully to fly. Daughter was afraid it had a stinger. We are very interested in solving this mystery! Thanks!!
This is one of the Leaf Footed Bugs in the genus Leptoglossus, and many species are difficult for us to distinguish from one another in a photograph. There are several species found in California. We believe you have submitted a photograph of Leptoglossus clypealis. According to BugGuide: “Can be a pest in pistacio and almond orchards because it feeds on the nuts.” BugGuide notes the distinguishing features as: “A spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (technically known as the tylus) distinguishes this species” and “Leaf-like protrusions on the hind legs have very shallow scallops. Broad zig-zagging white stripe across wings.” Upon enlarging your image, we believe we can make out the tylus.
Letter 20 – Leaf Footed Bug
Is this bug friend or foe?
Location: San Diego, CA
April 6, 2012 10:34 am
Would you please tell me what this is and do I want it in my garden. I found them yesterday mating on one of the succulents in my front yard.
Signature: Granny Geek
Dear Granny Geek,
These are Leaf Footed Bugs in the family Coreidae and the genus Leptoglossus. The closest species match we can find on BugGuide is a single photo of Leptoglossus brevirostris, and we cannot say for certain that is the species. Your individuals appear to be on a cactus. Can you confirm? This family and genus are plant feeders and some members of the genus Leptoglossus can damage fruits like pomegranates and tomatoes. The insects have piercing mouthparts that they use to suck fluids from plants and if they secrete an enzyme while feeding, it will damage the fruit.
Thank you for the bug ID. Guess I will treat them as pests and try to kill them.
Yes, it is on a type of cactus. I don’t know what the cactus is called. It seems to have a thinner skin than most of my cacti, but it has some impressive needles. It’s red flowers are bee magnets. It’s like bee crack – the bees crawl all over each other to get inside the flowers.
If they are not really plentiful, and they are not attacking fruit you are eating, you might not need to worry about them.
Thanks – though the front yard is cactus, the back yard has all kinds of fruit trees. I would like to stop them before they infest the fruit.
Letter 21 – Leaf Footed Bug
Subject: Attacking or helping my tomatoes?
Location: Birmingham, AL
August 4, 2012 2:09 pm
As a new gardener, I rarely know if a bug is a friend or foe–but since my tomatoes have all kinds of problems, I’m assuming these are in the ”foe” category. I’ve looked up every tomato pest website and can’t find these guys listed/shown anywhere. Hope you can ID.
We believe we have correctly identified your Leaf Footed Bug as Leptoglossus zonatus, based on photos posted to BugGuide and the range map listed on bugGuide. There is also this information on BugGuide: “Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including citrus, tomatoes, various members of the squash family, and many other plants” and “Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.” We would recommend hand picking them. We see this same species of Leaf Footed Bug in Los Angeles feeding on the fruit of pomegranate, and the site where they use their piercing and sucking mouthparts is inedible because of the enzymes the insect injects while feeding.
Thank you so much for the reply! I was surprised that you would reply, much less do it so quickly. (I tried to reply and thank you on Saturday, but my computer was acting up.)
A Reader Comments
August 19, 2012 10:26 pm
Question about the post (link pasted below) about the leaf-footed bug: Do they sting the everloving bejeezus out of you when you try to pick them up to get a closer look at them? I got stung by something in central Virginia that I’m sure was close to this (not necess. exactly the same), so I would recommend against hand-picking, if you mean it literally. Or I would recommend gloves! It didn’t swell up like a sting from a wasp, but it was quite painful for 20 mins like a deerfly bite. So that’s why I don’t have a picture. 🙂
While we would not rule out that a Leaf Footed Bug might bite, we suspect you were more likely bitten by an Assassin Bug.
Thanks for your reply! I looked around and am pretty confident it was one of these guys (I couldn’t tell the exact one). I could see the distinctive diamond shape and the leaf-shaped legs before I started screaming. 🙂
Consider our readership warned.
Letter 22 – Leaf Footed Bug
Subject: What is it?
Location: Fresno, CA
September 17, 2012 9:04 am
I and my neighbors have found this bug crawling all over our fruit trees: pomegranet, peach, avocado…..we dont’ remember seeing it before and are wondering what it is – thank you.
This is a Leaf Footed Bug in the genus Leptoglossus, and the following description on BugGuide allowed us to identify it as Leptoglossus zonatus: “Two yellowish spots on the forward part of the pronotum are distinctive. Also has a zigzagging white band across the wings (like some other species). Expansions of the hind tibiae are also much larger and more jagged than most other species.” BugGuide also notes: “Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including citrus, tomatoes, various members of the squash family, and many other plants” and “Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.”
Letter 23 – Leaf Footed Bug
Subject: These bugs chase me around my yard!!!
Location: Gainesville FL
September 17, 2012 9:20 am
HELP ME!!! I swear these bug get a kick out of chasing me around my yard!! People have told me they are stinkbugs but they are longer than all the pics Ive seen of stinkbugs. These are about 2 inches long and black/brown colored. Can you please tell me what they are and how I might get rid of them?!?!?!?!
We got a bit of a kick out of your letter. We do not believe these Leaf Footed Bugs are purposely chasing you about your yard. Due to the angle of view and the low resolution of your photo, we are not certain of an exact identification, but we believe this might be Acanthocephala femorata which you can read about on BugGuide.
Thank you so much. hahahaha ok I am sure they dont do it on purpose but it sure seems that way sometimes!!!! I will try and get a better picture next time I see one. I dont like to get too close cause, as you guys have had a nice laugh over, they will fly after me and chase me in circles till I run in the house!!!
Letter 24 – Leaf Footed Bug
Subject: What is this thing?
Location: Mexico Beach,FL
October 15, 2012 6:48 pm
I was sitting outside on my patio when I spotted this thing. Kinda creepy looking but he didn’t jump at me or bite me so I left him alone. Just wondering what it is?
This is a Leaf Footed Bug in the family Coreidae, and the species, Leptoglossus zonatus, does not have a species common name. According to BugGuide: “Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including citrus, tomatoes, various members of the squash family, and many other plants” and “Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens. “