Insect of the Week: The Common Northern Walkingstick

Adapted from pages 50-51 of Garden Insects of North America:

There are 29 species of walkingsticks in North America, but most are rarely observed. For the common Northern walkingstick, it favors oak, black cherry, elm, basswood, and black locust for hosts. Paper birch, aspen, dogwood, and hickory are occasional hosts. On these plants, nymphs and adults chew leaves, with typically minor damage, but occasional outbreaks in forests cause significant defoliation. These walkingsticks are distributed over much of the area east of the Great Plains except the most southern states. They are most numerous around the Great Lakes.

A walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata). Photo credit: James Solomon, USDA Forest Service,

Full-grown adults reach a length of about 3 inches. They are highly variable in color and may be
nearly pure green, gray, brown, or mottled. Eggs of the common walkingstick hatch in late spring from eggs resting on soil. In forests, the young nymphs usually feed first on the leaves of low-growing plants, then move to trees as they get older. Adults are present by midsummer, and the females drop their seedlike black eggs indiscriminately until frost. In southern areas of the range, these eggs usually hatch the following spring, but in the northern states and Canada they remain dormant until the second season.

Head to our Instagram to see additional photos of the walkingstick.

Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
Second Edition
By Whitney Cranshaw & David Shetlar

This second edition of Garden Insects of North America solidifies its place as the most comprehensive guide to the common insects, mites, and other “bugs” found in the backyards and gardens of the United States and Canada. Featuring 3,300 full-color photos and concise, detailed text, this fully revised book covers the hundreds of species of insects and mites associated with fruits and vegetables, shade trees and shrubs, flowers and ornamental plants, and turfgrass—from aphids and bumble bees to leafhoppers and mealybugs to woollybears and yellowjacket wasps—and much more. This new edition also provides a greatly expanded treatment of common pollinators and flower visitors, the natural enemies of garden pests, and the earthworms, insects, and other arthropods that help with decomposing plant matter in the garden.

Designed to help you easily identify what you find in the garden, the book is organized by where insects are most likely to be seen—on leaves, shoots, flowers, roots, or soil. Photos are included throughout the book, next to detailed descriptions of the insects and their associated plants.

An indispensable guide to the natural microcosm in our backyards, Garden Insects of North America continues to be the definitive resource for amateur gardeners, insect lovers, and professional entomologists.

  • Revised and expanded edition covers most of the insects, mites, and other “bugs” one may find in yards or gardens in the United States and Canada—all in one handy volume
  • Features more than 3,300 full-color photos, more than twice the illustrations of the first edition
  • Concise, informative text organized to help you easily identify insects and the plant injuries that they may cause


This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< Insect of the Week: the Japanese Beetle