Cluster of Orange-Bodied Bugs (Leaf-footed bug nymphs)

by Tee
(New Orleans, LA)

Location: New Orleans, LA


Behavior: I found these insects on my Malabar Spinach plant (last week of August). They were clustered together almost hidden—and motionless— on the underside of leaves and vines. They walked/marched away from me as I touched the plant, but did not fly. (I almost mistook them for spiders, because their front antennae appear as long as their legs.)

I’ve seen pictures that state they may be assassin bugs. But, they are all over what appears to be a healthy plant with no other insect infestation for them to feast. The picture captures how I found them in their communal behavior rather than an extreme close-up of one bug.

Any confirmation of species is appreciated. (I’m hoping they’re beneficial, versus something that will eradicate my plant.)

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Leaf-footed bug nymphs
by: Moni

Tee
These are leaf-footed bug nymphs. This is probably one in the genus Leptoglossus. But unless we see the adult we will not know for sure, as the nymphs can vary and some species look similar. These are found in the southern half of states.

Unfortunately they are not the assassin bug that would feed on other insect pests in your garden, these are actually the ones that would feed on your garden plants. They suck juices from foliage and fruits leaving a stippled spot of damage. If they feed on young fruits they can be deformed.

This is the young stage which molts several times before coming an adult. The later stages and the adult might have a "leaf" like flat spot on the hind leg giving it the name leaf-footed bug.

This insect is not known to bite.

Thanks for the Info
by: Tee

Thanks so much for your identification.

There was a hard rain, and the bugs appear to be gone for now. But, I will prepare for their inevitable return. Now that I am armed with information, I know not to sit idly by allowing them to hang out on my plants.

Much appreciations.

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