Leaf-footed bugs are running amuck on vegetables

Over the past couple of weeks our fruiting vegetable crops at Kentland Farm in Whitethorne, Virginia have been invaded by abundant numbers of leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus spp.). These bugs that are in the same bug family Coreidae as the squash bug Anasa tristus. They are piercing sucking feeders that have killed entire cucumber and zucchini plants from their feeding on stems and leaves or have caused numerous puncture wounds on fruit, which result in a little fluid oozing from the fruit.

Leaf-footed bug adults and nymphs on zucchini
Leaf-footed bug adults and nymphs on zucchini. Photo by Courtney Walls, Virginia Tech Entomology Graduate Student.

These insect pests can be controlled using the same insecticides that are labeled for use on stink bugs and squash bugs, namely, pyrethroids or neonicotinoids for conventional growers. Organic growers can achieve some suppression of bugs with the use of products containing pyrethrins such as Pyganic or Azera, or with the use of Surround (kaolin clay powder), which also works to prevent sunscald on fruit.

To learn more about this pest, please see the following VCE fact sheet that we produced a decade ago. Wow has it been that long? https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/3012/3012-1522/3012-1522_pdf.pdf