Cover Crops Organic Pest Control Pest control

Leaffooted bug – egg id / Stink bugs – Leaffooted Bugs – Trap Crop Strategy

In a recent post I shared some information with you from one of 3 links that a reader had sent to me.

In this post I’ll cover information from the other two links Pat sent. One was on identifying the leaffooted bug’s eggs and the other was on trap crops.

Eggs of the LeafFooted Bug

I hadn’t realized that the eggs of the leaffooted bug would be so easy to identify. Be sure and check out this link to see pictures because I think you’ll find the eggs unmistakable.  Looking for and destroying these eggs might be one of the easiest way to help rid your garden of these pests.

Using Trap Crops for Management of Stink and Leaf Footed Bugs

The third link Pat sent was about “Trap crops for Management of Stink and Leaf Footed bugs

The idea is to use trap crops to lure the stink bugs away from your main crops into a smaller area where they can be better managed.

For home gardeners the article suggests the possibility of planting small plots of the trap crops (even in large containers that can be moved around) and removing the bugs by hand or with insecticides. (Organic for organic gardens.)

Some of the trap  crops mentioned are ones that you’d plant as cover crops (like buckwheat, field peas, triticale<a mix of rye and wheat>) or  a food crop like okra.  Keep in mind it’s the seed of these crops that’s attractive to the stink/leaffooted bugs.

Important to Note: When using these plants for cover crops, you’d want to cut or turn them under before they seed in order to get the most nutrient value from the biomass. When crops go to seed — almost all the nutrient value is in the seed.

The nectar and pollen of some of these plants can be great for beneficial insects, but they can also attract aphids, whiteflies, mites or other pests — depending on what crop it is.

Dr Mizell – who wrote the article –  goes on to say that “The most effective way to protect a crop in larger fields using trap crops is to surround the main crop with a 2-3 meter border of the trap crops. Smaller areas can be protected using parallel or edge-planted plots. Stink/leaffooted bugs display a definite edge response to and buildup populations in border rows of crops before moving into the crop interior. ”

Thinking it Through

All this information can be of value and trap crops could be just the “tool” you’re looking for.  But if you are not prepared to kill the bugs that come to the trap crops — you may be going from one problem to a greater problem.  So just make sure you think things through.

Final Thoughts

What ever you decide, keep in mind that healthy soil (and thus healthy plants) is going to do more to keep the pest population down than anything else.


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • As always, your information is so helpful. You make it easier for us ‘part-time’ gardeners to know what we need to know for increased success. I’m seeing an improvement in my beds after just one year of having changed tactics to incorportate green manure and straw mulch. Thank you for your regular words of encouragement and guidance. This is my first year to plant fall crops because I haven’t gotten so discouraged about the summer garden. We love that fresh lettuce!

  • Hi Theresa,
    Thank you for the great information. I especially value your reminder of “healthy soil, thus, healthy plants are going to do more than anything else for keeping pest populations down.”

  • Pat, I watched that film a year or so ago and really enjoyed it. Gives any gardener a lot to think about and is excellent information.
    Thanks for providing the link.

    Sheila, your comment sure makes me happy.
    It’s very exciting when you start seeing improvement. Encourages one to go forward with more confidence.
    And yes — there is nothing like fresh lettuce from garden. Worth gardening for!
    Thanks for taking time to update me on your garden success.

    Toni — I appreciate your noting what I said about the soil, because it’s always first and foremost in our strategies to control pests and disease.


  • Thanks for the link to the film, I’m going to watch it now. I notice that okra is a great trap for stink bugs, I find them clustered on the tender buds. I appreciate the link to the eggs, they ARE easy to ID. Funny how this bug is showing up for the first time in our gardens.

  • Yes, I agree Sandra — it is strange that these bugs are showing up so much now.
    You’ll really enjoy the film. It has some excellent information in it. Not everything works for every place exactly as they seem to indicate but all in all the principles are right on.

  • Sandra, glad you enjoyed the film! It is certainly inspirational and hopeful!

    About new bugs in the garden….. I am also noticing an absence of certain bugs. My praying mantis population has dwindled to practically nothing. And there are only a few lady bugs. But I seem to have more beneficial wasps now than in past years (as evidenced by the tomato hornworms with those little white cocoons all over them)!

    A little off-topic, but I also have noticed the absence of wild yarrow growing along the roadside. I used to pluck some up now and then, but I just noticed last year that it seems to have disappeared totally! And less and less elderberry and mullein is seen. Don’t know if they are spraying herbicide on the shoulders of the highways or not, but that might be what’s happening.

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