Leaf-Footed Bug (Leptoglossus zonatus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Leaf-Footed Bug.
Updated: 8/11/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. Leptoglossus zonatus has a long mouthpart used to pierce plant parts and subsequently suck out the liquid nourishment inside when it is young. 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 the garden just when fruits and vegetables are 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 using row covers and removing weeds in the garden area can make it less likely the insect will wander into a vegetable patch. Removing piles of wood, fallen and empty pomegranates, and tree bark removes places adults like to take shelter during winter months. Though not considered a serious pest problem, this Leaf-footed Bug is not offering the farmer or gardener any benefits for its company.