Adult leaf-footed bugs are about three-fourths of an inch to 1 inch long. They are black to brown in color and have a distinctive diamond on their back created by the overlap of their wings. Leaf-footed bugs can cause substantial damage to garden plants in the late summer and fall when nymphs reach maturity and begin to feed, lay eggs and seek a hibernation location. The insects use a piercing and sucking mouthpart to suck fluid from the veins and fruits of plants. They are especially hard on tomatoes and squash. Dealing with a bug infestation promptly can save your garden from ruin.
Things You'll Need
- Tomato plants
Plant your garden early. The leaf-footed bug is a late summer pest. If your garden has an early production season, there will be a limited food source for the leaf-footed bugs and you simply will not have to deal with the large populations.
Plant a “trap crop.” Sunflowers attract both nymph and adult leaf-foot bugs in large numbers. Plant sunflowers so that they bloom at the same time that leaf-foot bugs become a prominent problem in your area. Spray the blossoms with a contact kill insecticide when they are covered in bugs.
Hand pick the bugs off of plants and smash them. This is time consuming but can be extremely effective in protecting your plant and lowering the number of bugs in your garden. It is the only way you can be sure that every bug you see dies.
Vacuum visible bugs off of your tomato plants. Use a shop vac with an upholstery or crease attachment and slide it gently over the leaves. Be careful not to suck the actual foliage up into the vacuum hose. Go over the stem as well.
Spray your garden with an insecticide that is effective against leaf-foot bugs. Spray early in the morning when they are least active fore the most effective overall control. Effective insecticides should contain carbaryl, cyluthrin, endosulfan, lambada-cyhalothrin, permethrin, malathion or pyrethrin.