Western Conifer Seed Bugs in England

Subject: Re: Leaf Footed Bug / Unknown??
Location: South East of England, Harwich, Essex
September 15, 2016 4:09 pm
Dear Daniel (The Bugman),
Please would you kindly consider helping me identify the bug in the photos? We have come across 4 of these bugs in less than 72 hours. The first one found on my wardrobe door – the next appeared on the bathroom net curtain. Just tonight, we found another walking across a bed and to our horror another in that same bed less than 20 minutes later. As you can imagine it’s proven to be quite alarmingly as we have never seen one or these before in our life – let alone four of these in quick succession. It’s a worry in case they are dangerous insect. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but a person in my household got bitten twice on the arm in the night a week ago and whatever it were pierced the skin to draw blood. She often gets beaten by gnats due to having a rare blood group though it never pierces the skin like it did on this occasion. I could be over-worrying here for nothing although the insect had similar resemblances to “Leaf Footed Bug” except I don’t think we get those in the UK. We also found a Black Widow Spider in our shed in recent weeks meaning anything is surely possible given this heatwave and hotter weather.
I would appreciate your assistance if your team has time. 🙂
Thank you so much,
Signature: Chris

Hi Daniel,
Here is an update. We just found another one since my email.
This is a crystal clear photo
Any ideas please? :/

Western Conifer Seed Bug
Western Conifer Seed Bug

Dear Chris,
Thanks for sending a sharper image.  This is indeed a Leaf Footed Bug, more specifically a Western Conifer Seed Bug,
Leptoglossus occidentalis, a species native to the Pacific Northwest.  Its range began expanding in the in the mid 20th Century, and now it is found across North America as evidenced by this BugGuide map.  We suspect the range expansion is related to human travel and to the fact that this species often enters homes to hibernate as the weather begins to cool.  Early in the 21st Century, Western Conifer Seed Bugs were reported in Europe and now sightings in the UK and other parts of Europe are relatively frequent.  According to BugGuide:  “recently introduced to Europe (first record: Italy 1999) and now widespread there.”  According to British Bugs:  “A very large and spectacular squashbug which has characteristic expansions on the hind tibiae and a white zigzag mark across the centre of the forewings.   Native to the USA and introduced into Europe in 1999, it has since spread rapidly and during 2008-2011 influxes of immigrants were reported from the coast of southern England, with a wide scatter of records inland.  The bug feeds on pines and is probably well-established here; nymphs have been found at several locations. It is attracted to light and may enter buildings in search of hibernation sites in the autumn.”

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for the quick response! 🙂
I must apologise for my delayed response thought had already replied.
Your response was very reassuring and a huge relieve!
Keep up the great work! 🙂

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