The Q&A Archives: Leaf-footed Plant Bugs

Question: My tomatoes and peppers are overrun with leaf-footed plant bugs. How can I get rid of them? I would rather not spray an insecticide.

Answer: Leaf-footed plant bugs (Leptoglossus spp.) can damage plants by sucking the juices from leaves, stems, and ripening fruit. They become problematic when populations soar, so check their proliferation early in the season. Handpick adults and squish any egg masses you find on the undersides of leaves. The pests like to hide in ground covers and weed patches, so keep weeds in control, and try growing a trap crop of mustard around your tomato and pepper plants. You can destroy the trap crop and the insects at the end of the season. Be sure to clean up garden debris at the end of the season to remove egg masses, and till the soil. This will expose the insects to natural predators. Next spring rotate the planting sites for your crops.

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