What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug identificatio
Location: Boise, Idaho
July 1, 2013 3:02 pm
We live in Boise, Idaho and have an infestation of these small bugs. They can fly, but we see them mainly crawling. They are outside, but are also inside our house and camper.
Signature: bugged and curious

Elm Seed Bugs

Elm Seed Bugs

Dear bugged and curious,
This one was almost a stumper because this is a newly reported invasive, exotic species, the Elm Seed Bug,
Arocatus melanocephalus, a Seed Bug in the family Lygaeidae that was first reported in North America in 2012.  Even BugGuide does not have a photo yet, however, BugGuide does provide this information:  “Detected in sw Idaho, marking the first time it’s been spotted in the U.S. according USDA Native to south-central Europe” and “Invade homes during the summer to escape heat, and then stick around through the winter.”  Finally, BugGuide notes:  “One generation per year and adults overwinter. Doesn’t pose a threat to trees, despite their name — but does tend to enter houses and buildings in huge swarms.”  We generally take our identification needs to BugGuide first as it is such a comprehensive database for North American species, and though we suspected this was some type of Seed Bug, the lack of photo caused us to check other possibilities in vain.  Finally, we just did a web search of “true bug infestation Idaho” and we found a photo and a link to the Barrier Lawn & Pest Inc. commercial site with photos and a description.  There was a common name but no scientific name, and this helpful information is provided:  “The Elm Seed Bug is a new invasive species in Idaho, discovered in the treasure valley in the summer of 2012. … Elm seed bugs originate in south-central Europe, and are closely related in appearance to the Box Elder Bug, the only obvious difference is the size, with Elm Seed Bugs measuring at just under a quarter of an inch. Elm seed bugs are nuisance insects:  They don’t bite or cause damage, but become problematic because of their large numbers and tendency to enter homes. Elm seed bugs overwinter as adults, mate in the spring and lay eggs on elm trees.  The larvae feed on seeds (particularly of elm trees) in May-June, and become adults in the summer.  Like most true bugs, the Elm Seed bug has scent glands that produce an unpleasant odor when crushed.”  Additional searching led us to a pdf fact sheet produced by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture that has extensive information on the Elm Seed Bug.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Boise, Idaho
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