The following text and photos are from Dr. Wayne Porter, MSU Area Horticulturist.
“I have found and had a call about leaf-footed bugs in blueberries. The call came from Lauderdale Co. and the ones I saw are in Clarke and Perry counties.
Leaf-footed bug cause damage when feed on leaves and fruit by piercing the blueberries with their proboscis and sucking the juices. The saliva of leaf‐footed bugs contains a toxic secretion, which further injures plant tissue. They may cause wilting and death of leaves and deformation and loss of fruit. Leaf-footed bugs can damage larger green and ripe fruits. Feeding on fruit with piercing‐sucking mouthparts causes pitting, distortion and discoloration. Puncturing of fruit also allows secondary pathogens to enter and cause rotting. Injured berries need to be removed on the grading line.
Leaf-footed bugs also raise their young within the fruiting cluster which is annoying when harvesting.
Insecticides should target the nymph and adult stages. Carbaryl (Sevin) and malathion should provide adequate control but be aware of preharvest intervals. Homeowners can usually catch and kill the bugs by hand since they are relatively slow moving. They might want to wear gloves since these bugs are in the stinkbug family.”