Are leaf-footed bugs harmful to humans is a question that many ask after noticing clusters of them hanging out on fruit trees. Ever noticed red or brown bugs that always hung on the fruits of fruit trees? These could be the leaf-footed bugs.
They are less noticeable and can damage your fruits. Let’s learn all about leaf-footed bugs, how to identify them, and how to get rid of them.
How to Identify the Leaf-footed Bug
Before we find out if these bugs are harmful or not, let’s learn how to identify them. It is best to identify them at any stage of their cycle from egg to adult.
- The Egg: leaf-footed bug eggs are usually laid on the stems or the ridges of the leaves. They look like short chains of small brown cylinders.
- The Nymph: They have varied coloration that ranges from light yellow to orange to bright red. They have back spots on their back towards the bottom. Their bodies are round rather than flat.
- The Instar: These instars look like nymphs. They have similar markings but are a bit larger. They do not have the bright color of nymphs but they are light brown or tan.
- The Adult: Adult leaf-footed bug has a flat leaf-like body shape. Depending on their species they can be brown, gray, or black. Most of them have a white band across the width of their back with leaf-like growths on their back legs.
Are Leaf Footed Bugs Harmful to Humans?
No, they are not harmful to humans! Leaffooted bugs do minimal damage to your garden too unless the population gets out of control. Their needle-like bites in leaves and fruits are hard to see and can be tolerated in most cases.
Leaf-footed bugs are not dangerous to humans or other animals. They only suck juices from the plant (leaves stems and fruits) with their mouthparts that are designed to pierce.
These insects are not poisonous! There is no recorded evidence that they carry any human disease or parasites.
Please note the leaf-footed bug can be mistaken for assassin bugs that carry the Trypanosoma cruzi. This is the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The Assasin bugs also known as kissing bugs infect humans with the disease. They do so by defecating after biting the face near the eyes or mouth.
The leaf-footed bugs can fly but they barely zip around as a normal fly does. They are either resting or crawling on the plants.
Read more about other pests: How To Get Rid Of Crane Flies- An Easy Way
Controlling the Leaf-Footed Bug
Although we have seen that they do little harm to the plants, if the population is not controlled, they can do lots of damage and become a pest. It is advisable to use natural methods to get rid of this insect. If you use insecticides they may eliminate other beneficial insects like bees. In addition, the leaf-footed bugs are attracted to ripe fruit which is almost ready for harvest. If you use pesticides at this level, they can pose a health risk to consumers. Let’s look at creative ways to get rid of them.
Grow companion crops. Most farmers have confirmed that sunflowers attract the leaf-footed bug. So planting them around your farm will keep the bugs away from your crops.
Destroy the leaf-footed bug eggs each time you notice them. The eggs are where life starts when you destroy them you get rid of the bugs. Look for thin rows of cylindrical brown eggs on stems, leaves, and branches and drown them in a soapy solution.
Natural Insecticide and Repellents
We have not only answered the scariest question but we have also learned a thing or two about this leaf-footed bug. Next time you notice them or their eggs you now know what to do.