PEST LIBRARY / PINE SEED BUGS
The pine seed bug, also called the western conifer seed bug, (Leptoglossus occidentalis) is a common household occasional invader found inside Ontario homes during the fall, winter and spring. This nuisance pest most closely resembles the squash bug found on pumpkin and squash foliage during the summer. The pine seed bug is in a small group of insects called the leaf footed bugs. This name refers to the flat, leaf-like expansions of the hind legs. Pine seed bug is a true bug (Order Hemiptera, Family Coreidae). Consistent with all members of this order the insect has a simple life cycle (egg, nymph, adult) and sucking mouth parts.
The pine seed bug is about 1 inch long, elongate in shape and dull reddish brown in colour. It appears pointed at both ends; the antennae are almost the length of the body and are obvious in living or fresh specimens. A faint, white zigzag line is more or less noticeable across the center of the back (depending on individual).
Pine seed bug nymphs and adults spend the summer on pine and Douglas-fir trees where they use their piercing-sucking mouth parts to feed on sap from green cones and twigs. This sap feeding is of no consequence to otherwise healthy trees. Cones may be damaged causing seed to fail to develop (of no consequence to most Iowans, though pine seed producers of the Pacific Northwest must control this pest to prevent low seed yield).
The pine seed bug is a typical occasional invader, similar to the better-known Cluster flies, Asian lady beetle and Boxelder bug. The adults wander into houses in the fall of the year. They are attracted to the exposed south sides of houses where they bask in the warmth of the late summer sunlight. After sunset, they crawl into wall voids and attics through cracks and gaps in the siding, foundation, and eaves, or around windows.
Like other invaders, they do not bite, sting, feed, carry diseases or otherwise cause harm to people, pets, the house or its contents, but the amount that enter a home can be very alarming and huge annoyance to home owners. They do however have a very distinct smell if they are squished and they are often referred to as a stink bug. They cannot reproduce inside the house, as egg laying and development are restricted to the host plants during the summer months.
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