Bug of the Month: Leaffooted Bug

Last Updated: 8/15/2016

When you are inspecting your garden this summer, you will find many interesting things to observe. One insect you may notice is a strange looking bug that can be over one-inch long and has an unusual appendage on its legs that looks like a leaf is attached. This bug is called the Leaffooted Bug, and it can do some damage to tomatoes, pomegranates, citrus and other ripe fruit. The damage is caused when this insect pierces the skin of ripe fruit and inserts a large sucking mouth part to the extract the juices. 

The Leaffooted Bug is very common to the Sacramento Valley region and hangs around all summer and into the fall going through several generations. Notice the picture of the adult Leaffooted Bug - the egg cases on the cucumber and the young Leaffooted Bug called a “nymph”. The nymph has not attained the color of the adult nor the large leaf appendage that is on the leg of the adult.

You can amaze your friends and family by being the first to observe and identify the Leaffooted Bug in your garden. Leaffooted Bugs usually are not present in large enough numbers to cause significant damage; so aggressive control with pesticides is not necessary. You can remove them by hand and place them in a bucket of soapy water and that will finish them off quickly. You should wear gloves when picking them off because they do emit a stinkbug like odor when handled.

Please don’t be alarmed by these large bugs and resort to spraying toxic pesticides to control them. Pesticides have very little effect on them—plus you don’t want to harm the beneficial insects and animals that help control Leaffooted bugs and other troublesome insects in your garden. Let the predatory wasps, birds, spiders, praying mantis, and assassin bugs control your pests naturally and you can just observe and be amazed by nature controlling nature.