Red Insects – On Plants in Spring (wheel bug vs leaf-footed bug)

Each spring I get pictures of clusters of small insects on plants or surfaces near a garden.

The two most likely suspects are wheel bug nymphs and leaf-footed bug nymphs.

But wheel bugs are beneficial insects and leaf-footed bugs feed on tomatoes, squash and okra.

How to tell them apart?

In general, leaf-footed bug nymph bodies are all red while wheel bug nymphs have a red abdomen and a black head and thorax. See below:

leaf-footed bug nymph

 

leaf-footed bug nymphs

 

leaf-footed bug adult

 

leaf-footed bug adult

 

wheel bug nymph, courtesy of Ward Upham, Kansas State University

 

wheel bug adult

 

 

Ward Upham
Kansas State University