- Author: Anne E Schellman
Pomegranate trees are often used in gardens and landscapes in Stanislaus County. They make a great tree and usually have relatively few problems. Recently, someone contacted the Master Gardener help line to describe some odd-looking insects she found on her tree, so we asked her to send a few photos.
The insects are called leaffooted plant bugs. They use piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on fruits, nuts, and ornamental plants. When they attack pomegranates, their feeding may cause the seeds inside to darken and wither. Large groupings of the bugs can leave behind an unattractive excrement on the fruit, although it is still safe to eat.
Adults overwinter in large groups this time of year, so we advised our caller to take a bucket of soapy water out to her tree and to brush the leaffooted bugs into it. This would help decrease the population before the adults could lay more eggs in spring. (up to 200!) We were impressed the caller was able to find the eggs and capture this image. Can you find them on this pomegranate twig below?
For more life cycle and management information, read the UC IPM Pest Notes: Leaffooted Bug. And remember, if you have a gardening or pest management question, you can call our help line at (209) 525-6802 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org