Sunday, June 10, 2012

You Put Your Leaf Foot In......

Every year there seems to be a different insect or other critter that comes into my yard and gives me headaches. Some years it is Aphids, (actually almost every year for this one), Mealies, Whitefly, Deer, Opossums, even Japanese Beetles only seem to raise their ugly heads occasionally. This time the culprit is higher in numbers than I have ever seen.....Do you recognize this insect?



If you guessed Leptoglossus phyllopus or Eastern Leaf Footed Bug, you would be correct!
Apparently many people are having a problem this year. Could it be because of the past mild Winter? Let's learn about this problematic pest.
Leaf footed bugs' common name comes from the hind legs that have a flattened, leaf-like expansion, you can see it in the above picture.
It is a very common insect in the Untied States, there are reported sightings as far north as Long Island, New York, and then they range south to Florida, west to Iowa and Kansas, and southwest through Texas to California.
Adults are about 3/4 inch in length and are dark brown with a whitish to yellowish stripe across the central part of the back. The nymphs have much the same shape as adults, though they are usually a bright Orange and do not acquire the flattened leaf-like hind leg until they are almost full grown adults.

LEAF FOOTED NYMPHS

This pest has a wide range of plants that it likes to attack including: apple, bean, bell pepper, blueberry, blackberry, citrus, cowpea, cucurbits, eggplant, lychee, loquat, okra, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, potato, tomato, and sunflower....just to name a few.
Leaf footed bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts. They stick the piercing part into their food material, use their saliva to dissolve the contents and then suck up the digesting mixture. Then as the puncture heals, the feeding site becomes hard and darkens. Damage early in development of the fruit or vegetable can lead to it falling off or at the very least cause severe deformities.
The Leaf Footed Bug can be controlled!!
With application of insecticides, cultural practices, a little help from Mother Nature and by hand picking.
The last one is obvious, pick the little buggers off by hand and either drown them in a bucket of soapy water or squash them.
Cultural controls include, keeping the weeds down in adjacent fields and replacing the mulch around your yard every year. They like to over Winter there.
Mother Nature might give you a helping hand, there are some species of birds that will eat Leaf Footed bugs. There are also some Parasitic wasps that attack the eggs and parasitic flies that attack the nymphs and adults. Some other helpers include: big-eyed bugs (Geocoris spp.), damsel bugs (Nabis spp.) and spiders.
I saved the Chemical control for last because hopefully that would be your last resort. If the threshold of damage to your crop has been reached then it is time to reach for the bottle. The insecticides used most often to control these bugs include the pyrethroid insecticides, carbaryl and endosulfan. Look for these ingredients on the label. Then make sure that what you want to use it on is also listed, i.e. Tomatoes, Citrus, Sunflowers, etc. The label is the law!!
A few side notes to keep in mind when confronting Leaf Footed bugs. They are very skiddish. The adults will fly away when disturbed, but will quickly return when the disturbance is gone. The nymphs will try to run away and hide on the other side of the plant.
You may also notice that the really like to hang out together.



One of the odd things about this behavior is, you may see a herd of them like above on one plant and yet a plant right next door will have none.
When you will see these is variable. Adults have been taken during all months of the year in the deep South, but populations are highest during the warmer months.
I should also warn you of one other thing and sadly, I fell for this. The nymphs of Leaf Footed Bugs look VERY much like our friends the Assassin Bugs.

ASSASSIN BUG

The abdomen of the Leaf Footed bug tends to be a little wider.
One other good way to tell is, if you see a bunch of them clustered together or if they are hanging out with adults, then they’re Leaf Footed bugs. This is NOT always the case but it might give you a better idea.
Happy Growing!
Darren

72 comments:

  1. I think I've stepped on those before. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  2. If these bug are on our tomato plants, is it bad to eat that tomato?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank You for the kind words Frances. Yes, we are practically neighbors. I am glad you found my blog and also find it useful.

    Anonymous, no it is not bad to eat the tomato, perfectly safe. Now if there are some ugly spots where the tomato has gone bad, that might be a different story. Otherwise, it is just fine.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful blogpost. I'm your new follower. More power to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just bookmarked your blog. I'm in Raleigh, NC (though I lived many years in Beaufort, SC!), and have noticed these bugs for the first time. Can't say if we had them previously or not, but I've noticed them all over my sunflowers this year. Much Google-ing finally gave me their name, which eventually led me here. Thank you for your layman's definition. I found lots out there about them, but nothing said, here's what they are, what they look like, what they do, and what YOU should do about them. At least not all in one document. Or in terms that I fully understood.

    I haven't seen the little red babies, but each of my Mammoth sunflowers has several of these thick-thighed bugs on them. I can't tell that any/much damage has been done. The petals all seem droopy, but I'm still in my budding stages as a gardener and can't tell if it's due to these bugs or if the sunflowers are just past their prime. I guess I'll give the little suckers a soapy bath and see what happens.

    I haven't seen them in all or our tomatoes, but we do have some tomato plants sharing a bed with the sunflowers. Would these critters be all or partially responsible for those tomato plants not doing as well as in previous years?

    Thanks again for your site. I really like how easy it is to read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginger,
      Yes! It is very possible that they are the reason behind your tomatoes not doing as well this year. Give them all a soapy bath and see what happens. Keep me posted.
      Also, as a budding gardener, please feel free to contact me if you ever have any questions. TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com
      As a finally funny, my mother actually lives in Wendell, just outside of Raleigh!

      Delete
  6. hello, i came from the blog train and i am happy i did.
    i have seen these little bug in bunches in one area of my yard. i have never seen them before. i immediately recognize them from your photo. they do like to be in groups and they like to hide too. i found them where i have some spring flowers and false cypresss.
    i will be following you. i am on zone 6b and i am a flower gardener wanna be.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Flowerdisco. I am glad you found me and my blog was useful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We, and many friends of ours up here in Maine, have been inundated with the leaf-legged beetles over the past half-year. We have found and killed many inside our houses this winter. My wife found one crawling on her clothes in her closet the other day!! Most of the time we find them in the living room, especially near the windows.
    What can we do to drive them out or away, besides killing them when we see them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jon,
      Glad you found my blog.
      They like warmth, just like we do, that is why they come inside.
      The very first thing you need to do is find out how they are getting in. I would imagine in Maine that your windows are well insulated. I actually lived in Bath for a couple of years and I was anal about making sure that happened. Double check every where and make sure there are no gaps in your windows, doors, vents and any place else you can think of. Then I would set off some bug bombs. Hopefully, that would take care of it. I would also continue killing any that you see, just in case they are multiplying in the house.
      Hope that helps.
      Good Luck!
      darren

      Delete
  9. Thank you for this post about these nasty bugs! They are all over my blueberries :( I noticed many blueberries were dried up and/or falling off as well...are the berries I picked safe to eat if these bugs punctured them?
    Also...I believe they BITE. While picking berries, these things flew up and around me, but one bit me on the arm...it itches like crazy today and I have red welt now :( Hoping I can get them gone before they find and attack my tomatoes too.
    -Jerri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the fruit is still safe to eat. They are just tapping them and sucking some of the juice out themselves.
      I am not sure I have ever had one bite me, but I assume they can.
      I have been fighting them again this year on my tomatoes. I keep a bottle of insecticidal soap nearby and spray them as soon as I see them. They will not win this year!

      Delete
  10. Thanks, Darren. Especially good to know that the fruit is still safe to eat. Phew.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the info. My poor plans were being invaded and didn't know what they were. And the adult was just watching over em. Sure looked like a mama, much bigger in size but major color difference.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the blog, i googled orange parasites on my plants and i saw the pic with those Nymphs. At first i thought they were some kind of aphids but moved when i went to kill them and i never seen aphids move that fast. I'm sure it sounds bad but i pull out the magnifying glass, first i looked at them and seen that yes they were eating my plant so i moved my Jade plant into the sun and cooked those pests, and squashed the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you for posting the picture and helpful information! My son and I were picking blueberries and came across these guys.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for your post. I am from Arizona and this is a new one for me. They are going after my pumpkins - not sure if they were there for my pole beans that intertwined with the pumpkins. It seems every year that I think I have mastered beating the pests a new pest arrives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Persistence is the key word.
      There is always a new bug waiting around the corner.
      Glad you found me and that my post was useful.

      Delete
  15. I have had the adult big leaf footed bugs on my pomegranates here in Phoenix. I have never seen the nymphs. Wasn't sure what to look for, but have seen the pictures now so I will be on the lookout. Since I have never seen the nymphs, could they be on a different plant and then migrate to my trees? I have desert landscaping and there isn't much else around the trees. I haven't seen them this year yet and my pomegranates are about the size of a lemon. One tree is still blooming so I don't want to discourage the good bugs from doing their job before I spray. Tx Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they very easily could be on another plant. Even a weed in the general area could be the breeding spot. They can fly pretty far distances, so it might be a good ways off, or even a neighbor.

      Delete
  16. Thanks, Haven't seen them yet this year, but looking daily.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I just found these on my Tomatoes. Leptoglossus phyllopus or Eastern Leaf Footed Bug. What organtic bug killer will work on them? Vinegar and soap water?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have used insecticidal soap on them rather successfully. You need to be careful with the vinegar and soap, if you use a soap that has degreasing agents in them, it could strip the epidermis layer off of the plant.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow Thanks for the blog. My kids discovered these horrible bugs ALL OVER our pomegranate tree a few days ago. I have never seen such a bug and want them to be gone but how do I get rid of them when they are on a big tree. Can I spray soapy water on the tree leaves, branches, and fruit. Will that kill them or just keep them off? Please help . Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found my blog, sad that you found the bugs.
      How big a tree are we talking? You can spray the insecticidal soap, it should kill a few. The biggest thing you want to do is try to break the cycle of reproduction. If you mix a little neem oil in the soap, that will help to do that. Just follow the directions on the bottle and don't spray if the temperature is over 75. It is a safe oil, so there is no worry about harming the kids or pets. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Delete
  21. Just found them all over my tomatoe plants - can't get rid of them ;0(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and I am all the way in Las Vegas Nevada

      Delete
    2. What have you tried on them so far? Soaps and oils are usually fairly effective.

      Delete
    3. I have been using soap and water - also trying to spary them off with a stream
      of water, picking them off, they don't seem to bother my pepper plants at all just the tomatoes.
      A few years back I remember seeing them on my neighbors yard front pomegranate tree - she ended up cutting the tree down bcuz they were so infested. Thanks for this site - been helpful.

      Delete
  22. Thanks so much for the very complete info and great photos! I just found these guys yesterday, here in Southern California. Never seen them before. They're on my tomatoes and potatoes, both. Since they do seem to stick together, as you said, I'll try picking and drowning for now.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I live in Las Vegas NV and we grow pomagrants very well here with exception of these scary looking things. Thanks for the info.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Help. Have these on my hibiscus. I'm not sure what solution to use to kill them - will 7 dust work? I live in San Antonio and it is already in the mid-80s so not sure what will kill the bugs, as well as any eggs they have laid. I also have a vegetable garden somewhat near where my hibiscus is located. Thanks for you help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, 7 dust will work. You might also want to hand pick as many of them off as you can. Make sure you follow the directions on the label for application.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. Hand picked and dropped in soapy water. Will apply 7 dust next and hope they stay away. Again, thanks for the great information on your blog.

      Delete
  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey Darren!! Fellow Charlestonian here!!! Well actually I'm a Creek girl but I'd say anything within 20 miles can make the Charlestonian claim.. lol

    Anyways, I started my 1st garden ever this year. I'm doing everything in garden boxes that we built. They are about 10 ft long, 2 ft wide & 2 ft deep. A little more info than needed but I'm so proud!! Anyways, I found the nymphs on my cucumbers about 2 weeks ago. I actually have my tomatoes & cucumber plants planted in their own self watering containers that I also constructed myself (pintrest is totally the BOMB)!!

    Ok, so I found them on my cucumbers. I've been using diamectrous earth as my insect control but I guess it doesn't effect them at all. So I found this article & went straight to Lowe's to find something pyretheroid based, but couldn't find a thing. Nothing at homes depot or any garden stores I've been to either. Haven't gone to Humans though. Anyways, after no luck, I decided to just pick up some Sevin spray, which as you know, is the carbynal based product. I sprayed and sprayed them, but it had no effect either!!! Now the little red buggers have morphed into their adult stage, cuz they are now starting to turn black and look more like your 1st pic in this post.

    What in the world can I do to kill them!! I should have picked them off when they were red, but I'm way too afraid to touch them now!!! Please help this 1st time gardener, I'm so, so lost..

    Also, what are some product names of the ones that have pyretheroid in them? I can't find anything that does. I'll order off the net if I have to, but I would love to be able to just go pick some up when I need it, which right now is RIGHT NOW!!! LOL

    Thanks,
    Claire

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Claire,
      I understand, they are kind of creepy to touch.
      I did some research that you might find interesting:
      Permethrin: Permethrin is the oldest, and most common, of the pyrethroid insecticides. It is
      widely available and is sold under a large number of different brand names. Bonide Eight
      Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Spray and Hi-Yield Garden, Pet & Livestock Insect Control are two
      examples. Permethrin is labeled for use on many different vegetable crops and is effective
      against many beetle, bug, and caterpillar pests. Because permethrin controls so many different
      insect pests and is labeled on most vegetables, this is one of the most useful insecticides for
      home vegetable gardeners to keep on hand. Permethrin is one of the best treatments for control
      of stink bugs and leaffooted bugs, and it also works well against tomato fruitworms and
      hornworms. But be aware that permethrin often flares (causes populations explosions)
      populations of those pests that it does not control. These include spider mites, aphids,
      whiteflies, loopers, and diamond back moth. Also, there are some vegetables on which
      peremthrin may not be used.
      4
      Cyhalothrin: Lambda cyhalothrin is one of the newer pyrethroid insecticides (Spectracide’s
      Triazicide Insect Killer Once & Done Concentrate is the most common brand name). It is very
      effective against a number of different insect pests, including stink bugs, but is labeled for use
      on only a few vegetable crops.
      Cyfluthrin: Cyfluthrin is another relatively new pyrethroid insecticide. It is sold under the
      brand name Bayer Advanced Garden Power Force Multi-Insect Killer Concentrate. Like
      cyhalothrin, it is very effective against a number of different insect pests, including stink bugs,
      but is only labeled for use on a few vegetable crops.
      Esfenvalerate: Esfenvalerate is one of the older pyrethroid insecticides. It is labeled for use on
      a number of different vegetable crops and controls a wide range of insect pests. Monterey Bug
      Buster is one example.
      Bifenthrin: Bifenthrin is an effective pyrethroid for control of stink bugs, leaffooted bugs,
      tomato fruitworms, and a variety of other insect pests. However, it is labeled for use on only a
      few vegetable crops, including tomatoes and many cucurbits. Ortho Bug-B-Gon Max Lawn
      and Garden Insect Killer is one example of a bifenthrin product.

      Maybe this will give you an idea of what to look for. I have used Neem oil with some degree of success.
      Hope this helps.

      Delete
  27. I live in Wintersville, OH and just found some of these on my pumpkin plant! Are they harmful to it? If so what is the easiest/cheapest way to get rid of them? I have small children and animals. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can damage the fruit. It will still be safe to eat, if it reaches maturity. Using Neem oil or plucking the little buggers off is cheapest, easiest and safest way to get rid of them

      Delete
  28. I just found this crazy looking bug on one of my huge yellow jasper rocks in the garden. Or I should give the credit to my Maine Coon cat, Marty. 2 weeks ago, I was bitten by a poisonous something and have had a rough time of it. So when I saw this, I wondered. I see that they are no danger. I couldn't believe I was seeing such a weird looking creature!! I have never seen one of these before, so took a very blurry picture of it and dissuaded my cat, in case it would not be a good idea to eat it. I couldn't find it anywhere at first. But finally did and that led to your site here. Now I see that it not only looks sort of prehistoric, as do many bugs, but is possibly going to be a pest in some way. Especially things that will be sprouting soon. I encouraged it away...it did not try to fly, but was rather sort of stumbling around on this rock. Thanks for your informative site here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are very welcome Lulu. Glad you can rest now, knowing it is not a danger to you or Marty!

      Delete
  29. I live in the Phoenix area and these things have infested my pomegranate tree every year for the past seven years. They ruin the entire crop every single year. I've tried insecticidal soap and it doesn't work. I am just now starting to get blooms. Is there anything I can do at this point to stop them before they even start? It's so frustrating to have a huge tree full of pomegranates only to have them all completely ruined within a few months. If it matters, we are already hitting 90°.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Michelle,
      Being in Phoenix, you do have a dilemma!
      My suggestion will take some patience and precision.
      I do not usually recommend Neem oil in such hot temperatures, because it will burn the plants. However, if you are very careful, and only spray the pest, it will do a couple of things.
      1) Hopefully kill the bug.
      2) If not kill it immediately, the neem will disrupt the eating and reproductive systems. So future infestations may be more manageable.
      Try to spot them early, they will look like assassin bugs when young. This will be a good time to hit them with the insecticidal soap.
      If none of this works, you may have to go nuclear on them and pull out the Malathion.
      Keep me posted as to your results.

      Delete
  30. Hello I live in South Florida and these buggers have almost killed my joy in having a pomegranate tree! Now I have a lychee with new fruit and I see some there as well. These two trees are quite close to each other. My pomegranates have never been edible due to this insect damage and they are the largest pomegranates I've ever seen....very disappointing. Since it's quite warm here I'm thinking no Neem Oil. Would a solution of Dawn Soap and water be good or bad? I use that on my gardenias and hisbiscus for other pests, but it almost killed my morning glories. Would you please you recommend a chemical solution? I also had to get rid of a GREAT grape tomato plant last year because it also became infested. YUK. I can't pick them off, I'm really grossed out by bugs, yet I love gardening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I understand your frustration.
      There are a couple of options.
      The neem oil would be okay if you sprayed after dusk. Yes, it is still warm, but the sun would not be out. Target the insects as directly as possible.
      I always caution people about using homemade soap (i.e Dawn). The grease cutting agent in it can deteriorate the protective waxy layer of the leaf and cause even more damage. Get some insecticidal soap at a local garden center.
      One last option and this might actually be fun for you, get an industrial shop vac and suck the bugs right off the plant.
      Hope one of these ideas help.

      Delete
    2. Darren, You're AWESOME! Thank you for the quick reply. I do have some neem oil - what ratio of oil to water? Also, your last option cracked me up, you must already know I have an electric fly swatter!! It occurred to me, I could take it outside when I read your post :)

      Delete
  31. LOL, Glad to help.
    Whatever the neem bottle says, there are different delusion rates for different strengths.
    I have actually seen the vacuum in use, it works!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I also have been battling the flat footed leaf bugs on my pomegranate in the Phoenix east valley area for years, now. I tried covering individual fruit last year with bags (Agfabric Garden Plant Cover Insect barrier Bag), but the adults just sat on the bag and ate the fruit right through the bag. I tried spraying Sevin the year before, with ineffective results. This year, the fruit is forming and I've seen a few adult bugs already. I read on several sites that permethrin is effective for controlling these bugs on pomegranates, so I bought Martin's Vegetables Plus Insecticide (10% permethrin) to try. It's labeled for fruit and nut trees (almond, pecan, apple, peach, pear) but not pomegranate. Many other vegetables and ornamentals are listed, as well. The flat footed leaf bug is not listed on the label. Do you or any of your followers have any information about this product, especially whether it is safe and effective for use on pomegranate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would say, it should be fine for use on pomegranate.
      Have you tried Neem oil and Insecticidal Soaps?
      I have also mixed a little Malathion in that and it seems to work pretty good.

      Delete
    2. No, I haven't. I would need something I could spray with a tree sprayer, though, because the tree is very big (wide and tall).

      Delete
    3. Was the Martin's in a spray container? As long as the majority of the tree gets sprayed, you should be fine.
      There are many good sprayers on the market.

      Delete
  33. The Martin's I bought is a concentrate; for fruit trees, the label says to use 1/2 ounce of concentrate per gallon. I have a hose end tree sprayer to use with the concentrate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should be able to get Neem oil in concentrate and do the same thing.

      Delete
    2. OK, thanks. Do you think I should use both products, or just one (and which one)?

      Delete
    3. Check the capability by mixing a small amount in a glass jar.
      They should be fine, the oil will help it stick to the bug.

      Delete
    4. Thanks, Darren. I'll try them together and let you know how it works out. I haven't seen any bugs for a few days due to the recent rains, but as soon as I see activity, I'll treat the tree. I appreciate your most informative blog!

      Delete
    5. Last week I noticed adult flatfooted leaf bug activity, so I sprayed my pomegranate tree with a combination of the Martin's Vegetables Plus and Neem Oil (bought the latter at Home Depot). Two gallons total covered the entire tree (1 oz. of Vegetables Plus concentrate and 2 oz. Neem Oil concentrate mixed together with the right amount of water for my tree sprayer). A week later: no flatfooted leaf bugs (adult or nymphs). This tree has LOTS of fruit developing (about 1 inch diameter). I'll check often for bugs, then spray again whenever I see new activity. I'll keep my fingers crossed that this fall, I'll have fruit that hasn't been ruined by these pests to harvest for the first time in years.

      Delete
    6. Glad to hear it! Keep us posted!

      Delete
    7. Another 2+ weeks without these pests! The tree has dozens and dozens of pomegranates ranging from golf ball to lacrosse ball sizes. We've had a few thunderstorms, so I'm monitoring daily to see when it will be time to spray again.

      Delete
    8. Here we are a month later, and still no pests. Perhaps having sprayed at first activity killed whatever nymphs might have hatched and discouraged adults from laying more eggs.

      Delete
    9. They're back. Just a few adults. Sprayed another 2 gallons this morning.

      Delete
  34. We have (not kidding) tens of thousands of leaf footed bugs covering our house. Windows, under eves, walls and columns. They appear in this huge swarm every morning and seem to diminish at night. They've been here now for about a week. It's extremely scary to leave or enter as they swarm you. Not bite but just swarm you. I'm serous about 10's of thousands.
    It seem too much and too dangerous to spray the entire outside of the house. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What state/area do you live in? Is it just your house or do the neighbors have it as well? I really sympathize and hope to hear you've been able to rid your home of them.

      Delete
  35. Wow!
    Is there anyway to get a picture of them covering the house, or anything they are covering?
    Send it to TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com
    Apparently there is something on your house in the morning they are after. Is it possible to power wash the house? You might be able to break the cycle of whatever it is.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I try to get a picture today. I just had reports of others in our development now have them. I spent over an hour yesterday with a hose/nozzle squirting the little guys and they just moved around. Maybe a few gave up and moved on but not many. I think floods and pestilence is next! ha ha
    We live in Northern Arizona outside of Prescott. We're at 5100 feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Curious if you've been able to rid your home of these? What did you use and did you find out what they were and what was attracting them?

      Delete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. do you know of any attractant traps to kill leaf footed bug

    ReplyDelete
  39. How much of my Bradford pear tree will they destroy before they stop

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are lucky, all of it! LOL
      How big of a tree are we talking about here?
      I would suggest trying to stop them before they destroy the whole tree. It will act as a breeding ground and they will move on to other plants once the population deems itself too big to stay where they are.

      Delete