Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Coastal BC Insects: Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

I found a dying bug on the picnic table outdoors and didn’t think much about it. Then I found another that looked just the same inside the cabin climbing up the kitchen window. He was too high up for me to reach, but the next morning there he was sitting in the sink. I took him out on a paper towel and deposited him on the front deck to photograph. Here’s what I discovered.

Based on the photographs in Insects of the Pacific Northwest, he appears to be a Western Conifer Seed Bug. The information indicates that they are rare to see because they spend their lives living up at the top of confer trees feeding on the seeds in pinecones.

The Western Conifer Seed Bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis) is a member of the Squash Bug family (family Coreidae). They are brown with yellow or white wings. My specimen opened his wings while I carried him outdoors and they were white with darker lines through them. The tibia of the hind legs are flattened and leaf-like. The body is medium sized at 17 millimetres.

Both the adults and nymphs feed on conifer cones. I guess I was really lucky to make this discovery. I’m not sure how the two made it down from the trees on the cliff to my cabin, maybe it was a recent wind that sent them far away from their cozy treetop homes. -- Margy

Reference: Insects of the Pacific Northwest (Timber Press Field Guide, 2006) by Peter Haggard and Judy Haggard, and PennState College of Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology "Insect Advice from Extension: Fact Sheet" (online).


  1. Here on the east coast, western conifer seed bugs are pests which seek out houses to overwinter in. A lot of people used to call them stink bugs (because of the odor when squished) but, now that we have the even more common brown marmorated stink bug coming into the house in the winter, most people have learned this is not that. (The other two winter house bugs here are box elder bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles.)

  2. I have never seen them before. Here in Montreal, Canada we had a large number of Japanese beetles which were affecting many gardens.

  3. We have a lot of these. They come in with my wood. They are called leaf-footed stink bug here.

  4. Thanks for the clarification on these bugs. I have seen them here. One year we had a lot of them on our outside window.

  5. When the weather turns cold, they head for warmer spots, like houses, to sleep until spring. They'll sit on a warm outside wall for days until they discover an open door, then dash inside. Luckily, they're harmless.

  6. The first thing I thought was some sort of squash bug, which we get TONS of. I hope they don't cause you any problems, I'm assuming they don't since you don't see them often.