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Leaf-Footed Bug v. Assassin Bug

Do you have some of these crazy, colorful friends in your growing space at the moment?! I have been seeing them everywhere, in so many growing spaces around town. So, thought I would discuss these two look-a-likes with y'all today. Leaf-footed bugs and assassin bugs are part of the Coreidae family. They're related to stink bugs, squash bugs, and, well, bed bugs. Hence the family resemblance.

These are Leaf-Footed Bugs, adult form and nymph (baby) form. Here's some things to know about them and how to identify them.

  • They are herbivores

  • Despite their diet, the damage done to plants is fairly manageable and isn't nearly as devastating as say, the vine borer or cabbage worm

  • They prefer snacking on sugars from over-ripened fruits, so staying on top of harvests this time of year is a great way to reduce their presence

  • They have leaf-shaped hind legs

  • The eastern leaf-footed bug has a yellow stripe across its back

  • Nymphs are usually bright orange in color and like to cluster together when young

These are pictures of one species of Assassin Bug, adult and nymph form. There are many variations of these, which is great cause they are...

  • CARNIVORES! Hoorah! They eat other bugs. We love carnivores (think spiders, aphids, black snakes, dogs, cats, etc.) in our growing spaces.

  • So they don't bother your plants

  • They generally have a little crest on their thorax

  • Nymphs are usually found hanging out by themselves. They are more solitary creatures than their leaf-eating cousins, who like to travel in gangs.

I take the presences of leaf-footed bugs, and the fact that it is August, as a good indication that it's time to pull out summer veg, and make way for fall things! It's up to you, of course. You can treat them the same way you treat for squash bugs. Manual removal, neem oil, diatomaceous earth, the whole works. Also, when planting your early fall leafy greens... be sure to put out a little pile of diatomaceous earth at the base of your seedlings to keep the cabbage worms at bay. If they're out and about, they'll find your greens. They do love cabbage, their namesake, after all.

Ready to talk about fall planting? Let's find time for a Consultation!

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