Leaf-Footed Bugs are moving into and spending more time in backyards and that may mean a bit more work for the gardener.
Like their Eastern counterparts, this species of Leaf-Footed Bug has thick 'thighs' that are flattened out, almost leaf-like in shape. A single white line crosses the middle of the wings in a zig-zag fashion. Two yellow spots riddled with dark specks are found on the pronotum near the head. The young Leptoglossus zonatus has a long mouth part used to pierce plant parts and subsequently suck out the liquid nourishment inside. As an adult, the insect will break down a tough seed using an enzymatic chemical it spits onto it. Leaves, stems, and fruit are all susceptible to the appetite of this species. Though it is unlikely to kill the plant and ruin harvest, it can mar produce aesthetically.
As if on cue, females move from the weeds they usually inhabit during winter and spring into a garden just when fruits and vegetables become ripe. They lay their brown cylindrical eggs in a line on a host plant. End to end, this line of eggs almost looks like a worm. The most common plants that L. zonatus damages are tomatoes, pistachios, pomegranates, satsuma oranges, and almonds. Controlling the number of this species of Leaf-footed Bug by using row covers and removing weeds in the garden area can make vegetable patch infiltration less likely. Removing piles of wood, fallen and empty pomegranates, and fallen tree bark helps eliminate places that adults take shelter in during winter months. Though not considered a serious pest problem, this Leaf-footed Bug does not the farmer or gardener any benefits for its company.
Scientific Name: Leptoglossus zonatus
Other Name(s): Western Leaf-Footed Bug (though technically this name has already been assigned a different species)
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 20mm (0.59in to 0.78in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.