Mating Leaf Footed Bugs

Bug of the Month – Feb 2009, eating habits?
Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 4:34 PM
Hi, I live in Phoenix, AZ and my kids and I were in our backyard and noticed these bugs my son refered to as “lobster bugs”. We came inside and found your site. Thanks for the science lesson! I was wondering if these plant bugs opened the pomagranate or did they find them and begin to eat them? Is this their plant of choice or will any do?
North America

Leaf Footed Bugs Mating
Leaf Footed Bugs Mating

Dear THS,
The insects in your photos are mating Leaf Footed Bugs or Big Legged Bugs, probably Leptoglossus zonatus as depicted on BugGuide.  We often see this species on ripe pomegranates in Elyria Canyon Park in the Mount Washington area of Los Angeles.  The adult insects are also attracted to our tomatoes.  These insects have sucking mouth parts rather than chewing mouth parts.  The Leaf Footed Bugs use their sucking mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck the juices from the plants.  Enzymes that the insects release create bruise-like irregularities in the fruit.
The ripe pomegranates split their skins on their own.

Leaf Footed Bugs Mating
Leaf Footed Bugs Mating

6 thoughts on “Mating Leaf Footed Bugs”

  1. I have a control for the “leaf-footed bug” we have a small orchid and were plagued with this insecticide resistant insect. We tried seven, malathion, various pepper based safer formulas, nothing worked. We even tried vacuuming them off the Pomegranates, which was very ridiculous indeed. Finally we sewed rectangular bags out of fiberglass screen, about the size of lunch sacs. We covered the young fruit and tied the bags on the stems. Floating the fruit in the center of the stiff screen sac. this effectively stopped them and was an organic solution. It also allowed the pomegranate to ripen well.With out the bacteria injected by this little devils piercing mouth parts. The bags are reusable season after season. If you want to order some from me email. They are quite interesting to look at unless you have loads of them breeding all over your pomegranate harvest!

  2. I know this is a reply to a very old post, but who knows, maybe I’ll get an answer to my question.
    Which is: Is the enzyme and/or bacteria that the Leaf Footed Bug injected into my Tomatoes and
    Bell Peppers harmful to humans?

    I threw out all my Tomatoes because these guys were “IN MASS” mating all over my fruit, ripe or not. I’ve still got quite a few beautifully colored Bell Peppers that I’m in the process of harvesting right now. They got on the peppers after the tomatoes were gone, but not nearly so many, and I was very diligent about keeping them off. But, you know you can’t be everywhere all the time.
    I sure would like to reap something out of a whole years work–from seed, but I don’t want to
    poison my family.
    Any advice would be appreciated. I don’t see a place to post imagines, but Thank You

  3. We have a lot of pomegranate bushes and fruit. We just shoo them off when we harvest. I don’t see anything wrong that they are doing beside eating bitter skin that I am going to throw in the trash. Anyway, my question is why do they go inside of the fruit? My husband and I have a few theories.

    • We have no experience with Leaf Footed Bugs entering the fruit, unless you are talking about fruit that splits open, which allows easier access to the succulent fruit.


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