Friend or Foe?

Dade City, FL(Zone 9a)

These guys are hanging around the tomatoes. Do you know what they are and if they are a problem or not?

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Grenada, MS(Zone 8a)

Leaf-footed bugs (Coreidae), all are plant feeders. A few species are agricultural pests.

Looks like Leptoglossus zonatus -

Feeds on flowers and fruits of many plants, including citrus, tomatoes, various members of the squash family, and many other plants. Considered a pest not only for the feeding damage on various crops but also as a transmitter of plant pathogens.

This message was edited Jul 8, 2012 6:25 PM

Dade City, FL(Zone 9a)

Could he be sucking the life out of pepper plants? I don't seem to have problems on the plant they are on yet, but I have other problems on peppers. (as I have posted also a few minutes before this post)

Also, is there a household remedy for him?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

These are dreadful creatures to find in your vegetable garden.

I'm an organic gardener, and as such can only tell you to squish as many of them as you can.

If I saw that many all at once, you'd be able to hear me scream!

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Squish - destroy right away !!
Look under the leaves because that's where the orange babies are.
The adults are very slow to move, so it is very easy to squish them ! The babies are much faster.
They used to be a problem in my garden, sucking out the juice from the tomatoes and making them not edible ... untill I found out that the leaffotted bugs like the Cardoon and the Sunflowers much better.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

You see those orange ones? Well, they're a lot smaller as nymphs, and look like orange ants with black legs. Yours in the pic are what I call "teenagers," and you can clearly see the black bump on their butt tips. THAT'S an indicator that these, and the nymphs, are Leaf-Footed Stinkbugs!!!

Squish every nymph you see in the future, and you won't end up with the infestation you have now. Let them grow up, and you'll be chasing them the whole tomato season trying to save a tomato...

The black bump on the butt tip indicator is important, because there is a FRIENDLY ALLY called the "Assassin Bug" that will prey on most every other bug in your yard. (Which is six of one, and half a dozen of another, because it does not distinguish between the good and the bad bugs.) But, given a choice, I'd rather have one ASSASSIN BUG in my yard, than all those stinkbugs you have in your pic.

Don't confuse the two. The Assassin Bug is a solitary bug, traveling not in herds like the Stinkbugs, but usually alone, or maybe two, a few feet apart. They also do NOT have the black bump on their butt tips! That's how you tell them apart.


I use (with much caution to any dry grass or timber below...) a BIC Fireplace lighter to singe any nymphs I find. Once you light up a few legs and wings, they're not gonna crawl back up before some predator on the ground (like the Assassin Bug) get's 'em. Or, put on a pair of latex gloves and mash 'em. The nymphs don't jump, fly, sting, or do anything except hide behind tomatoes or leaves. Pop the tomato and they'll fall into your hand. MASH 'EM!

I have a neighbor that I'm still trying to convince to keep his stinkbug nymphs killed. He doesn't see the adult population when it migrates into MY yard, because he won't mash those nymphs....


Dade City, FL(Zone 9a)

Thank you so much for the info. I will tend to them right away and from now on they will meet the "squishy death". Now if I could just figure out the pepper problem I'd be all set.

Talihina, OK

like Linda advised put on latex gloves it can be all to easy to mash a Blister Beetle by mistake they look very close to the looks of the leaf footed critters but you will only mash one blister beetle before learning a hard lesson..

Carmel, NY(Zone 6b)

Creepy, creepy, creepy - even if they weren't bad, they'd freak me out. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

chuckle, those things are awful this year-dau uses scissors and cuts em in two, or stix her hand into a walmart baggie to squish em, they have every single mater rotted as soon as they are white, the woods are fed lots of produce-did I mention the rabbits are getting fat...

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Yuk! I found just a few this summer. I kept a styro coffee cup filled with soapy water on the trellis that the maters climbed on. I'd pluck them off the plants and plunk them in the water. Fun to see them try to do the backstroke. I am so cruel... lol

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

And I thought I was the only one who plucked them! LOL!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I thought you 'torched' them.... no?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Trust me: PLANT SUNFLOWERS in another part of your garden,
The leaffotted bugs love to hang around them better than anything else and they live the tomatoes alone !

This year I had Sunflowers taller than Crepe Myrtle trees

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SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Ok. So what kind of giant sunflowers did you plant? I'll get some going for next tomato season.

I'll get my neighbor to plant some in HIS yard, too. And if he doesn't, he might not get any of my seedlings....

Talihina, OK

I too have sunflowers over 14 feet tall and I didn't plant any of them just spillage from bird feeders and I suspect from the chicadees droping them as they fly away from the feeder after swiping some seed from the larger birds ..And they are a great magnet crop for lots of troublesome insects ...

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Which sunflowers do you grow that are over 14 ft. tall?

I have a neighbor who has exactly three tall sunflowers in a row on her front lawn - absolutely whimsical!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

If you check the packets, I think Mammoth greys ? k, let me go check this name from my auto-memory, have the huge heads, but even my red velvet queens got 10' tall, you have to SEARCH for dwarf sunflowers to find any...

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Kitt!

Madison, AL(Zone 7b)

I would dearly love to find a good "seed" sunflower that's short -- seeds for humans, that is. Tall sunflowers are neat to look at, but only the goldfinches can reach the tall ones to get the seeds. There's no way I can cover the heads of a giant sunflower to keep them off a few. I'm willing to share but the birds aren't!

I ordered some Sunspot seeds a few days ago to try for next year. If they are really just 2' tall with large heads, it may fit the bill.

I also have to think they'd be great for gardeners with short stubby folk around. Tall is fun for kids but this way they'd be able to really look at the flowers!

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