Leaf-footed plant bug may hoof it into house

Garden Q&A

December 22, 2007|By Ellen Nibali and David Clement

A few slow-moving bugs have shown up in my house. Sometimes they fly a little. They're about 1/2 -inch long and gray-brown. Do I need to spray?

Are the hind legs flattened and do they look like a leaf? The body shield-shaped? If so, you've found a type of leaf-footed plant bug. They look very similar to a stink bug. The leaf-footed pine seed bugs in Maryland are prevalent near pine trees. They feed on foliage and live outdoors. When weather turns cold, they may wander into houses looking for areas to overwinter (not breed, eat or cause any harm to people or houses).

There is no control other than sealing windows and doors, caulking cracks and crevices, and applying weather stripping. So show them to the kids and then dispose of them or observe them as a very short-term pet. They will not survive indoors for any length of time.

Checklist

Avoid walking on frozen turf during cold periods to prevent damage to grass stems and crowns.

Leave old flowers and seed head from perennials to feed the birds.

Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and David Clement is the regional specialist. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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