Member Since: 04/10/2011

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Re: QUESTION: Are assassin bugs friend or foe to tomato plants?

This picture is not of assassin bug nymphs but of leaf-footed stink bug nymphs. In the nymph stage they can be hard to tell apart. The leaf footed are always in groups and have black spots on the nymphs, while the assassin are most often single and have silver spots on them. The leaf foot is a major pest in my area and can ruin a tomoato crop before you know you even have a problem. They pierce the green tomato with their proboscis damageing the fruit, then when it ripens the area around the site gets hard stays green and does not ripen rendering the fruit unusable and a site open for moisture and pathogens to enter. Organic control is near imposable. Try insect screening to keep them out. Hand picking is an option use a can with a bit of vegetable oil in it and hold it under the bugs then move your other hand toward them and they normally drop into the can. It is necessary to know the differance because the assassin bugs eat the stink bug (leaf-footed) nymphs and other harmful insects. The leaf foot is not picky about what it eats cactus as mentioned above, corn, berries, tomatos, peppers, sunflowers they love sunflowers.