Name: Leptoglossus occidentalis

Alias: Western conifer seed bug. This little bug is often confused for elm seed bugs or even box elder bugs. It is in the same “bug” family and is lumped in with other leaf-footed bugs, which is to say they have large paddles on their back legs. Adults are about three-quarters of an inch long and are various shades of brown. They have a distinct striped pattern on the outside of their abdomen. Nymphs can range from bright orange to reddish-brown, and lack wings. They produce a loud buzz when in flight. They prefer to feed on seeds of conifers such as spruce, pines and junipers and can often be seen sunning themselves in large populations in the fall.

Crimes: In the winter, these bugs love to come inside and enjoy the warmth you have provided. Although they will not hurt anything that doesn’t look like a Christmas tree, this can be a problem for homeowners because no one likes seeing bugs inside their house. Once squished, they can leave marks that are difficult to clean. They can come in large numbers when it gets cold. They can be a particularly troublesome pest to tree nurseries trying to grow conifers from seed.

Redeeming Qualities: None known.

Sentence: For in-home use, the best method is to exclude them using physical barriers. Make you’re your windows and doors are sealed properly. Once they’ve made it inside, a vacuum can be most effective in picking up bugs you are not comfortable with touching. Removing conifers can reduce populations but is usually impractical bug control.

For more information on dangerous and beneficial bugs, call UI Extension educator Joseph Sagers at 208-745-6685 or email jsagers@uidaho.edu.