Western Conifer Seed Bug

Already I am seeing some new critters at the cottage. Mostly bugs, but a few birds too.

DSC_9392 Western Conifer Seed Bug

The Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis) is a native bug to western North America and has only been see in Ontario since 1985. Sometimes their name is abbreviated to WCSB because it is so long. Given that it isn’t just a western bug now and hasn’t been for some time, it seems a little crazy that the western part of the name isn’t dropped. It would make the name a little less of a mouthful!

Apparently they come into homes in the fall for over wintering. This one was in our half-shed, so I guess it over-wintered in there. The females lay their eggs on the needles of Douglas fir and several species of pines. The eggs hatch in about 10 days and both the nymphs and the adults feed on the seeds of pines. When the weather cools they look for a place to over-winter. Often it is in leaf litter or in a tree, but if there is a building they can get into they will go there.

WCSB’s are sometimes called stink bugs. They do stink, but they are not in the insect family of stink bugs. They are in the family of leaf-footed bugs. You can see the extra-wide segment on their hind legs. It is supposed to look like a leaf, but I think that is a bit of a stretch. Their primary defense is to spray a bitter, bad smell, although some say they can have a pleasant smell of apples and bananas or of pine sap. I didn’t squish him, which is when most seem to report the smell. I love his patterning. I thought he was rather a handsome chap that looked like he was all dressed up to go out to dinner. I hope he found a date to join him!



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