Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer Co. Horticulturist ‘97

A relatively large newcomer has made its way into New Jersey homes for the last couple ’ of years and is causing consternation for residents. This newcomer is Leptoglossus corculus, of the family Coreidae of the order Hemiptera, the true bugs. For want of a common name, we are calling it the “pine leaf-footed bug.”

CONCERN: The “pine leaf-footed bug.” has come to the attention of residents because of its habit of seeking a place to spend the winter. Like its relative, the boxelder bug, the “pine leaf-footed bug.” adult moves into the attics and walls of homes in mid to late October, sleeps for the winter, then emerges in late winter or early spring to go back to the pines. Occasionally on mild winter days, it will emerge from hiding and dopily wander around on floors, walls, curtains, and other household surfaces. They can fly, but seldom seem to do so during their winter wanderings.

Adult Pine Leaf-Footed BugDESCRIPTION: This bug occurs commonly in areas where pines are grown. The first and second instar nymphs (the juvenile growth stages) feed on pine needles and first year conelets. Older nymphs and adults feed on the seeds. Adults are reddish-brown to black, have long legs and average about 18 mm in length. The hind tibiae (leg segments) are flattened and leaflike. Infested cones usually show no external damage symptoms. This insect overwinters as an adult.

DAMAGE: Indoors, the “pine leaf-footed bug.” shows no interest in foods, clothing, carpets, wood, or any other thing that could be infested or damaged. It does not bite people. Its meanderings are a concern because of its size and unusual appearance.

CONTROL: Pesticide applications to control this insect are not recommended. It seldom occurs in large numbers (more than 5 or 6 or so) and can be controlled easily by handpicking. It is a waste of water to flush them away as they are caught. Probably the best option is to half-fill a jar with soapy water or water with a film of vegetable oil across the top and drop the insects into this solution as they are caught. It is not wise to crush them because they give off an unpleasant smell.