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Eastern leaf-footed bugs

Eastern leaf-footed bug
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Eastern leaf-footed bug

Leptoglossus phyllopus or Eastern leaf-footed bug is a species of leaf-footed bugs in the same genus as the western conifer seed bug (L. occidentalis. The Eastern leaf-footed bug is found throughout the southern United States, from Florida to California, through Mexico, and as far south as Costa Rica.

These bugs are a common garden insect which may damage a wide variety of crops including cotton, peaches and tomatoes, and seeds such as beans, black-eyed peas and sorghum. Like other bugs L. phyllopus suck juices from plants by puncturing them with their sucking mouth parts, making them resistant to ingested pesticides. A toxin is injected into the plant when piercing its skin, causing discoloration and hard spots on fruits. The adult bugs are highly resistant to pesticides; however, they are vulnerable in their bright orange nymph stage. Trap crops can be used to lure them away from desired plants and to encourage predator populations, and in small garden plots handpicking, the use of trap crops, and bug traps baited with methyl (E, Z)-2,4-decadienoate can be effective controls.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.