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Attack of (slow and stupid) alien invaders

Leaf-footed bugs appear late this summer in Sacramento

By Debbie Arrington

Alien pests were attacking my tomatillos!

That was my immediate reaction when I saw these weird critters perched on a bush in my community garden. While I screamed an appropriate expletive, they were unafraid of my approach. The group of four ignored me, intent on sucking the juice out of the ripening tomatillos while eying the red beefsteaks nearby.

Their food focus made it much easier for me to grab them in a tissue and squish them. (It was the next best alternative to drowning them in soapy water.) I had to act fast and I hadn't brought a bucket (or soap).
This was my first sighting of the leaf-footed bugs (Leptoglossus zonatus) in Sacramento this year. In recent summers, these stinkbug cousins seemed to be all over the Valley by June. When you see them, you remember them. Their angular bodies are about an inch long with strange legs; leaflike "thighs" give them their name. They are a true bug …

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