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A Control Strategy for Stink Bugs and Leaf-Footed Bugs

Leaf-Footed Bug
Katja Schulz via Wikimedia Commons

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs are major problems for vegetable gardeners. They cause damage by inserting their mouthpart, a tubular proboscis, into the plant tissue and sucking out the juices, leaving a wound that results in curling pods of okra and causes hard, necrotic spots in beans and tomatoes. Cultural controls can help with these insect pests. Keep weeds near the garden cut low as stink bugs are and I’m quoting from a fact sheet – extremely polyphagous – they eat lots of different plants including common weeds. If you will clean up wood or debris piles you can help eliminate their overwinter sites. There are no pesticides we home gardeners can use that give good control so hand picking and destroying the masses of barrel-shaped eggs and clustering immatures is our best control strategy.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.