Facts, Identification & Control
There are a large number of insects in this group. Leaffooted bugs get their name from the shape of the back leg. They have a flat, leaf-like projection on their back leg. These are large insects. Some species can be as large as 2.5 cm long. They are usually dark brown to black. Some have pale markings.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Leaffooted bugs are primarily plant-feeding insects. Depending on the species and the location, these bugs attack seeds, fruits, vegetable crops, sorghum and ornamental plants. One species feeds on prickly pear cactus.
Leaffooted bugs can become pests in homes in the fall. An occasional adult might try to find a place to spend the winter. Many times they find openings in homes and get inside. When spring comes, the adults become active again. They try to move outside to feed and mate. The insects do not cause any damage indoors. They do not deposit eggs in the home. Many homeowners use a vacuum to remove them from the living space.
The adults lay eggs on leaves. The immature insects and the adults suck the juice from the leaves. Sometimes the bugs transmit diseases to the plants. In warm areas of the country, there are two or three generations of these bugs per year.
Signs of a Leaffooted Bug Infestation
Normally leaffooted bugs usually do not invade in large numbers. Signs of their activity mainly would be the occasional sighting of the adults.
Preventing leaf-footed bugs from invading the home starts with an inspection. Check the exterior of the home to find any openings that the bugs could use to get inside. Make sure exterior doors close tightly. Replace weather stripping that is missing or damaged. Check the screens on windows, attic vents and crawlspace vents.
An insecticide application outside on the foundation and around doors and windows can help prevent these bugs from coming into the home. Because of moisture and temperature, the barrier should be reapplied periodically. The local pest control professional can select the right product for the situation.