This article was published originally on 11/11/2009
The pine seed bug is a common household accidental invader found inside Iowa homes during the fall, winter and spring. This harmless nuisance most closely resembles the squash bug found on pumpkin and squash foliage during the summer. The pine seed bug is in a small group of insects called the leaffooted bugs. This name refers to the flat, leaf-like expansions of the hind legs.
The pine seed bug is about 1 inch long, elongate in shape and dull reddish brown in color. It appears pointed at both ends; the antennae are almost the length of the body and are obvious in living or fresh specimens. A faint, white zigzag line is more or less noticeable across the center of the back (depending on individual).
Pine seed bug nymphs and adults spend the summer on pine and Douglas-fir trees where they use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to feed on sap from green cones and twigs. This sap feeding is of no consequence to otherwise healthy trees.
Control is the same as for other accidental invaders. Seal cracks and gaps to prevent entry. Pine seed bugs already indoors need only be picked or swept up and discarded as they appear. Spraying the house in winter or spring is of little benefit.
Pine seed bug. Photo by Laura Jesse, ISU Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic