On Crops: Tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, and occasionally other vegetables and grains, as well as pomegranates, pecans and citrus fruits.
Native to North America, most common in warmer climates.
Adult leaf-footed bugs are usually seen in late summer, and sometimes in winter when they come indoors. So-named because their rear legs are slightly flattened, like leaves, the large gray-brown bugs can be 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and usually have a white zigzag across their backs. Leaf-footed bugs overwinter as adults, and survival rates can be high following mild winters. When the weather warms in early summer, some adults may fly into the garden and lay eggs on vegetable crops. The bright orange nymphs with black spots feed in large groups on unlucky plants.
Leaf-footed bugs feed by piercing moist vegetables with sharp mouthparts to feed on their moisture. Wounds made by feeding lead to uneven ripening and may invite disease.
In areas where leaf-footed bug nymphs are a recurrent problem, eliminate overwintering sites near the garden such as wood piles. Thistles are a preferred host plant, and can be used as a trap crop in spring. Sunflowers and sorghum (millet) make effective trap crops when grown near tomatoes.
Hand pick the nymphs by brushing them into a container of soapy water. Protect susceptible plants with row cover where leaf-footed bugs are a common pest.
Collect and kill leaf-footed bugs that come indoors in winter. They cannot bite.