Currently viewing the category: "Red Bugs"
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Subject: Is this an elm seed bug? Found in Southern CA
Location: N Los Angeles County, Southern California
December 14, 2014 5:26 pm
Hi! I’ve been trying so hard to identify this bug, which just appeared in my back yard this year, maybe early summertime. I’m in north Los Angeles County (town is Littlerock), Southern CA. They’ve gone from lumbering in sort-of lines along the ground to huddling in large numbers around bushes and under wood or metal, to now huddling en masse in the crevices of one of my large chinese elm trees. I took pictures; they are black and red, similar it looks like in shape etc. to your photos of the elm seed bug, but the markings on my bugs seem a bit different. I have various birds living out back (goose, emu, peahen, guinea hen, and occasionally chickens) and am wondering if these bugs are beneficial to my plants and/or birds, or if they are harmful. So far they’re not in the house, but I’m a little worried that might change! I’d appreciate any help you can give me on identifying these cute little huddlers — hopefully they are the good kind! ( I have several more pictures, by the way – your site only allowed me 3 so I tried to pick out the best 3)
Signature: Heidi Brooks

Mediterranean Red Bug

Mediterranean Red Bug

Dear Heidi,
These are Mediterranean Red Bugs,
Scantius aegyptius, a species that was introduced to Southern California several years ago in about 2009 and it finds our climate to its liking, so it is proliferating.  Here is what the UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research states:  “Damage: The literature contains very little information regarding the biology of S. aegyptius and Scantius species in general are not considered to be economically important species.  In California, Scantius has been observed feeding on the developing seeds and stems of Knotweed (Polygonum spp.) and Malva (Malva parviflora).  It is likely that S. aegyptius will feed on the seeds of several species of annual herbaceous plants.
The most noticeable impact of S. aegyptius in California will likely be the presence of large numbers of nymphs and adults migrating from drying annual weeds into adjacent developed areas.  These migrations consisting of thousands of individuals can be very conspicuous and lead to large aggregations on small patches of host plants causing concern to local residents who notice these obvious aggregations.”  Though they pose no immediate threat to crops, native plants or animals, the presence of a non-native species in large numbers can have significant effects on native species by displacing them in an ecosystem.

Aggregation of Mediterranean Red Bugs

Aggregation of Mediterranean Red Bugs

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!  I got your email this morning, plus responses on Facebook after I asked about these insects there as well.  I have a British friend who lives in Germany and encounters these red “fire bugs” often in his walks through the woods.  He sent me this link, where I learned more interesting info about them, and I’d like to pass it on to you.  It’s a German site translated into English (thanks, Google), and while parts of the translation are a bit amusing, I did learn more about these little huddle-bugs:
https://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.schaedlingskunde.de%2FSteckbriefe%2Fhtm_Seiten%2FFeuerwanze-Pyrrhocoris-apterus.htm&edit-text&act=url
My friend also said that he notices wasps hang around the red bugs, so not sure if they are tasty to the wasps (or vice-versa).
Thanks again!
Cheers,
Heidi Brooks

Dear Heidi,
The link you provided is for a Firebug, a different species in the same family.  Again, your species is Scantius aegyptius and you can find more information on BugGuide.  When we first posted images of the Mediterranean Red Bug in 2010, we also incorrectly identified it as a very similar looking Firebug.

Wow!  I didn’t notice that – the markings are so specific, with a triangle and 2 dots, I thought they were the same bug.  I’ll have to do a little more research then, I think.  It’s been difficult to find much about these insects, but at least I know that they don’t seem harmful to my plants or people.  Thanks again — your responses mean a lot to me!
Cheers,
Heidi

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Subject: Red bug aggregation
Location: Lake Chapala, Mexico
November 8, 2014 10:12 am
I was hiking in the Sierra Travesaño north of Lake Chapala last spring. It was near the end of the dry season and there were many individuals and small aggregations of these red bugs along the trail (oak forest at about 6,000 ft). Do you know what they are?
Signature: J. Cross

Immature Red Bug Aggregation

Immature Red Bug Aggregation

Dear J. Cross,
We are not certain if you called these Red Bugs because of the color or if you actually realized that they are in the Red Bug family Pyrrhocoridae.  They appear to be immature nymphs, and immature specimens can be very difficult to identify conclusively.

Thanks for your quick reply. They looked a bit like aggregations of boxelder and red shoulder bugs from back East, but enough different that I wasn’t certain. I was pretty sure they were hemipterans, but I didn’t know there was a Red Bug family.

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Subject: Help with bug ID
Location: San Diego county
November 4, 2014 7:28 am
Hi, I was wondering if you could help me ID these guys. I’m in San Diego county. They have been around for a couple of months but are starting to clump up like this now. They don’t seem to eat any plants that I care about, so I’m just curious.
Thanks!
Signature: Iris

Mediterranean Red Bug Aggregation

Mediterranean Red Bug Aggregation

Hi Iris,
This is an exotic, invasive, Mediterranean Red Bug,
Scantius aegyptius, aggregation.  According to The Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside:  “The literature contains very little information regarding the biology of S. aegyptius and Scantius species in general are not considered to be economically important species.  In California, Scantius has been observed feeding on the developing seeds and stems of Knotweed (Polygonum spp.) and Malva (Malva parviflora).  It is likely that S. aegyptius will feed on the seeds of several species of annual herbaceous plants.  The most noticeable impact of S. aegyptius in California will likely be the presence of large numbers of nymphs and adults migrating from drying annual weeds into adjacent developed areas.  These migrations consisting of thousands of individuals can be very conspicuous and lead to large aggregations on small patches of host plants causing concern to local residents who notice these obvious aggregations.”

Mediterranean Red Bug Aggregation

Mediterranean Red Bug Aggregation

Great to know. Thanks so much for your help. They haven’t caused any trouble, unlike the dreaded Bagrada bug that has been gobbling up all my crops.
Have a good night.
Iris

Those African Painted Bugs, Bagrada hilaris, are a big problem to California crops.

I have been covering all my fall brassicas with row cover and burying the edges completely with dirt to seal the tunnels. This seems to work to keep the Bagrada bugs away until the weather gets cold. A lot more work, but without doing that they devour everything.
Thanks again for your help. Glad the Mediterranean Red Bug isn’t interested in eating my crops too.
Iris

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Subject: What is this?
Location: California, Torrance
November 2, 2014 1:02 pm
These came out of nowhere. They have wings but don’t fly. They were found in the park next door and have migrated toward our house, but don’t seem to know where to go or what to do. They just mill about. They seem to avoid plants and keep to open areas.
Signature: Dan

Mediterranean Red Bug

Mediterranean Red Bug

Dear Dan,
Your insect is
Scantius aegyptius, a non-native Red Bug in the family Red Bugs Pyrrhocoridae that was first detected in Southern California in 2009, according to BugGuide.  It is native to the Mediterranean, so even though it does not have an official common name, we have been referring to it as a Mediterranean Red Bug.  According to the UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research:  “Damage: The literature contains very little information regarding the biology of S. aegyptius and Scantius species in general are not considered to be economically important species.  In California, Scantius has been observed feeding on the developing seeds and stems of Knotweed (Polygonum spp.) and Malva (Malva parviflora).  It is likely that S. aegyptius will feed on the seeds of several species of annual herbaceous plants.  The most noticeable impact of S. aegyptius in California will likely be the presence of large numbers of nymphs and adults migrating from drying annual weeds into adjacent developed areas.  These migrations consisting of thousands of individuals can be very conspicuous and lead to large aggregations on small patches of host plants causing concern to local residents who notice these obvious aggregations”

Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Leaf Footed Bugs

Pale Red Bugs Mating

Subject: Panamese bugs
Location: Bastimentos, Panama
October 13, 2014 6:10 am
These two bugs were photographed in Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro province, Panama in february 2012.
Are they Disdercus species or do they belong to another Pyrrhocoridae genus or maybe Hypselonotus?
Thanks in advance for your advice.
Signature: David

Leaf Footed Bugs

Mating Pale Red Bugs

Hi David,
Several years ago, we mistakenly identified
Hypselonotus atratus as a Cotton Stainer, but in your case, we believe you really do have a Cotton Stainer or Red Bug in the family Pyrrhocoridae.  It looks very much like Dysdercus concinnus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the Pale Red Bug ranges as far south as South America.

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Subject: Hong Kong Beauty bug
Location: Stanley, Hong Kong
September 25, 2014 3:58 pm
Hi
Recently moved to HK, and found this in my Hibiscus yesterday, 24 Sept. It is the tail end of summer, about 33C. About 1 inch long. We are quite close to the beach, although this bug appeared on a plant that I recently purchased and moved here from Kowloon. I have had the plant about 3 weeks.
Would love to know what it is, and if I should remove it to another plant to spare my garden. (There is a nearby undeveloped, jungley lot for the bug to emigrate to.)
Thanks
Signature: Margaret

Cotton Stainer

Cotton Stainer

Dear Margaret,
This is a Cotton Stainer or Red Bug in the family Pyrrhocoridae and we located a matching image on FlickR that is identified as 
Dysdercus cingulatus.  We then found a reference where it is called a Hong Kong Stink Bug and the information:  “Found mating and feeding on Ipomea on September 11, 2002 at Braemar Hill, North Point, and on Hibiscus.on August 10, 2003 at Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung, Hong Kong SAR.”  The latter link is not very accurate as the family is listed incorrectly.  It is also pictured on iNaturalist.

Cotton Stainer

Cotton Stainer

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