Leptoglossus oppositus or the Leaf-Footed Bug, is a common, minor pest of many kinds of crops, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and ornamentals. It is a major pest in the southern states containing citrus, pecan and peach fields, where its feeding on ripening fruit causes fruit drop, among other issues.
These guys are cousins of the stink bug (Perillus) and do emit a smell when threatened. He’s another ‘SBD Dropper’ when nervous.
Ironically, they choose to pick host plants in the conifer family, rather than fruit. Native conifers they tend to decide to live in are:
Leaf-Footed Bug with parasite
- Lodgepole Pine ~Pinus contorta
- White Spruce ~ Pinus glauca
- Douglas-firs ~ Pseudotsuga menziesii
- Eastern White Pine ~ Pinus strobus
- Red Pine ~ Pinus resinosa
- Mountain Pine ~ Pinus mugo
- Scots Pine ~ Pinus sylvestris
Eggs are laid in small groups on the needles or leaf stems of the pine, and hatch in spring. Nymphs go through 5 instars before reaching adulthood. In the United States, the species only has one generation per season, however in southern Europe, it completes two generations a year and in tropical Mexico, three.
The poor guy to the upper right there has a parasitic egg attached to his right shoulder (thorax). I checked with Bugguide.net (an AWESOME source for insect ID) and they are not 100% on what type of hitch-hiker this is, however lean towards the Tachinid family (true flies) .
In the northern parts of its range (here, the Midwest), September is the time these bugs start to move about to seek crevices for overwintering. This is the fun time of year when all the bugs want to come in and enjoy the warmth… They will have to fight with the Lady bugs and Boxelder bugs to find a good place to sleep!
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl
On a funny note: I will remember this insect as the LEFT-Footed Bug, as that is what my brain first registered when reading the name, along with the Latin name solidifying it by having ‘oppositus’ in the name.