Gardening is a way to relax, grow your own food, and get down on your hands and knees with nature. When destructive insects such as the leaf-footed bug get into your garden and decimate your plants, it is frustrating and may even set your harvest back.
When pests are destroying your crops, you have to figure out the best and safest options on how to control or get rid of them to take better care of your plants. Don’t just let them be or your garden will suffer.
Do not despair; there are different ways to get rid of these pests from your garden without using harsh chemicals. Sometimes multiple solutions can be most beneficial.
Leaf-Footed Bug Identification
Belonging to the genus Leptoglossus, leaf-footed bugs categorically fall into the Coreidae true bug family of the hemiptera order.
These bugs are noticeable because their rear legs look like tiny leaves. In fact, they might remind you of stink bugs with their sleek, teardrop-shaped bodies.
They tend to be a little over half to one inch in length and can really do some damage to gardens. Adult bugs can range in color from gray to tan to brown to black, and even the young nymphs can be brighter colors like orange, yellow, and red.
Its head is typically smaller than its body and two antennas stick out that help the insect to function.
Leaf-footed bugs use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to suck the juice out of plant leaves, fruits, and shoots.
Leaf-Footed Bug Life Cycle
To be sure you get all the leaf-footed bugs, you should first understand its life cycle. Similar to most bugs, these insects begin as eggs, turn into nymphs, and then finally become adults where the life cycle begins again.
Any of these stages of life can be found on leaves in gardens. When females are ready to lay eggs, they will pick the perfect leaf in your plant to do so.
The eggs hatch and turn into nymphs. Nymphs can usually be found in groups and will go through different stages before they become adults.
Some leaf footed bugs can lay over 200 eggs in the springtime!
How Do You Get Rid of Leaf Footed Bugs Naturally?
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of leaf footed bugs, below are 13 natural and organic ways to eliminate them from your garden.
1. Use Row Covers
Row covers have many uses in the garden, one of them being to control pests like leaf-footed bugs. It is best to use them from the beginning of your planting season before the bugs arrive.
Once they are already present, this may not be the best option as they are already in your garden. The material used should be light in weight with the ability to let water pass through.
A downside may be that it prevents beneficial bugs from coming into your garden.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is a natural crumbled rock made from fossilized diatoms and can be added to your garden to make sure bad bugs stay away.
It can be sprinkled on or around your plants, and the good news is you don’t need to use a lot. Just a little bit will help to get rid of the unwanted pests.
You do, however, need to reapply after any rain. Not only will it rid you of the bugs, but it is organic and natural as well!
3. Neem Oil
Mostly beneficial during the nymph stage, neem oil is organic and considered non-toxic to beneficial bugs.
The best way to apply neem oil is to mix it with water and spray it onto both sides of the leaves.
Remember not to spray beneficial bugs directly or to use neem oil in really hot temperatures as it can cause suffocation to plants.
4. Physically Remove Bugs
If you spend a lot of time out in your garden, removing the bugs physically is a good solution. Take the time to look through the plants and at the backs of leaves.
When you see a leaf-footed bug, pick it off and squeeze it between your gloved fingers. If that doesn’t sound pleasant to you, you can also drop the bug in soapy water to kill it by way of suffocation.
Try to begin this practice early on to have the best effect. While removing the bugs physically can be a good idea, you may want to also try other natural ways, especially if you are busy and not able to be out in your garden as often.
5. Clear Woodpiles and Winter Shelters
It is typical to leave remnants of wood and debris around your yard and winter shelters; however, this is something that can cause your gardens to be invaded by these leaf-footed bugs.
The bugs will look for warm places to go during the winter, and their survival means more eggs in the spring.
More eggs mean more detriment to your garden. It is also a good idea to patch up any holes in warm places where they might want to hide.
6. Get Rid of Weeds
Weeds can attract leaf-footed bugs as well. They will likely stick around to eat the leaves of your weeds, lay their eggs and multiply, which will cause them to bother your crops.
If you do not give them any food, they will die out or go elsewhere so you don’t have to worry about them.
The sooner you pull the weeds, the less likely the insects will stay. Weeding is important to do often to keep the pests away.
7. Prune Your Trees
Leaf-footed bugs love to eat the leaves of fruit trees. It is important to prune the branches on these trees to keep the bugs away.
Get out your pruning shears and make sure to especially get any branches that are close to the ground.
Taking care of your trees can also help you to notice where the pesky bugs are, so they can be removed.
8. Beneficial Bugs
Not all bugs are pests. Some bugs can actually help to drive out the less desirable ones and even do good for your crops.
Some of the beneficial garden bugs are spiders, wasps, tachinid flies, and assassin bugs. Bees are an important beneficial bug as well.
Know the bugs and their eggs and be sure to let them be. They will get rid of the leaf-footed bugs naturally for you.
Also, be sure to use natural products when getting rid of fungus, disease, and pests so as not to harm the good bugs.
9. Trap Crop
A trap crop is a plant that will attract bugs to get them away from any plants they are destroying. If you are growing a vegetable garden, it might be helpful to add sunflowers nearby.
Sunflower is a great trap crop for the leaf footed bug. The bugs love the flowers and leaves and may even leave other plants alone to get to the sunflowers.
To get rid of the bugs, you can shake them out of the sunflowers and step on them or drop them into soapy water.
10. Remove the Eggs
Leaf-footed bugs tend to lay their brown, cylindrical eggs in a thin line. They can be found on leaves, stems, or branches.
You can physically pick the eggs off and either crush them or place them into soapy water to kill them.
As you weed and water your plants, be sure to pay close attention to the eggs that you find on both sides of the leaves. The more bugs that don’t hatch, the better chance your plants have.
11. Use ECOWORKS
If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of leaf footed bugs naturally without mixing up a DIY concoction, this product is for you.
ECOWORKS is a great organic commercial pesticide that can be used in the garden. Not only is it good for getting rid of pests, but it is also good for treating fungus, mites, ticks, and worms.
Its ingredients list Azadirachtin as one of the main elements that make the pesticide effective and organic.
Depending on how you would like to apply it, be sure to follow the instructions on the container to use it for your garden.
Another great natural product to use against the leaf-footed bug is Azera.
This insecticide uses extracts from neem trees and daisies that have been proven to work on most garden pests, including the most invasive ones.
Leaf-footed bugs don’t stand a chance with this product. With different ways to apply the substance in your garden, you can find an option that works for you by reading the instructions on the container.
13. Kaolin Clay
Kaolin clay is a natural crop protectant that can be sprayed around your plants to create a barrier so pests, like bad true bugs, cannot get to your precious plants.
While it can be used for most crops, it is very effective on fruit trees, grape trees, and garden plants like cucumbers and tomatoes.
With different ways to apply it, your crops will be bug-free in no time.
Pests are not fun and welcome in your garden, especially leaf-footed insects.
Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure your garden can thrive and give you the fruits and vegetables you have worked so hard for.
With so many options on how to get rid of leaf footed bugs organically, your garden is sure to do amazing this year.