Monday, March 4, 2013

Leaf-footed Bug

5:00 AM. Cleaned out the wood stove ash tray before lighting a morning fire. Outside it was dark, but for the sky full of bright stars and a waning gibbous moon in the east. I heard the deep hoot of a great horned owl calling from the woods along the edge of the Mitchell field, defending its several square mile territory. The female, likely, is incubating eggs by now, although I'm uncertain where the pair is nesting.

After the crisp and clear start to the day, it turned windy and raw, with a washed-out look and feel. There was so little to see and enjoy outside, so I was excited to find a bug in our bathroom window. Something to study, and it was dead so I carried it downstairs for a closer look.
You've probably seen them in your house too. They move slowly; this one wasn't moving at all. This is a western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentals), commonly known as one of the leaf-footed bugs. So called because of the widening on the hind legs that looks like a bit of leaf. This inch-long bug is another one of those house invaders that does little harm. If this one were alive and it was a nice day I would have moved it outside. Alan Eaton, Entomologist at the University of New Hampshire, has a nice fact sheet on this bug and four others called: Seasonal Insect Invaders in New Hampshire. All are relatively harmless.

Let's hope the weather outdoors improves soon, so I don't have to go looking for more home invaders to study.

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