Red and black shelled bug
Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 2:11 PM
We live in San Antonio, Texas. Since early March, we have been noticing these strange bugs crawling around near our back porch and in our back garden. They’ve been hanging out on our nascent basil bush, though they don’t seem to have actually nibbled a the basil yet. (Perhaps they don’t like pesto?) Does anyone know what these pesky creatures might be called? What environmentally responsible steps can we take to remove them from our premises?
San Antonio, Texas
The most puzzling aspect of your photo of mating Red Shouldered Bugs, Jadera haematoloma, is that the female does not appear to have fully developed wings. This indicates that she is still an immature nymph. Red Shouldered Bugs may be a nuisance when they appear in large aggregations, but they will not harm the plants in your garden. According to BugGuide, it is found in: “yards and gardens, often in large aggregations to feed on seeds that have dropped to the ground from trees overhead ” and “”J. haematoloma feeds on a variety of plants but prefers balloonvine (Cardiospermum spp.; Sapindaceae) which grows in southern Florida. Additional hosts include other Sapindaceae, Ficus spp. (Moraceae) and Althaea spp. (Malvaceae). In some areas the bugs are observed feeding so often on goldenrain tree seeds ( Koelreuteria spp.; Sapindaceae), that they are referred to as ‘goldenrain tree bugs’.” – Frank Mead and Thomas Fasulo, University of Florida .” The species is also known as the Golden Rain Tree Bug because of its association with that plant. We do not offer extermination advice, especially with regards to benign species. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he has an opinion on the underage female involved in mating activity.
Update: Fri, 20 Mar 2009 10:39:27 -0700 (PDT)
Many members of the “true bugs” suborder Heteroptera exhibit what scientists call “polymorphism” when it comes to wing growth. Some individuals or populations will have shortened or otherwise non-functional wings while others will be fully-winged. I’ve never heard of Jadera displaying that phenomenon, but I’m also not surprised by it.
P.S. Did I tell you I’m blogging now? Feel free to link to anything there that you might find useful, or even reprint it on WTB: