Subject: What is this bug?
Location: San Fernando Valley, CA
August 19, 2016 9:23 am
Dear Mr. Bugman,
I found a lot of this bugs in on the wall coming up from the ground in my backyard. I normally do not see them. What is it?
The Mediterranean Red Bug, Scantius aegyptius, is an invasive species that was accidentally introduced into Southern California recently. We first found an individual in our Mount Washington, Los Angeles office grounds two years ago, but luckily we have not found another. According to BugGuide: “native to the Mediterranean, adventive in NA (first found 2009); established in so. CA.” According to the Center for Invasive Species Research: “Recently, another brightly colored, mostly seed feeding bug belonging to the family Pyrrhocoridae or ‘Red Bugs’ has become established in southern California and is drawing attention due to large aggregations of the bright red and black nymphs and adults feeding on annual broadleaf weeds in open space areas. Scantius aegyptius, an old world pyrrhocorid bug, native to the eastern Mediterranean region, was documented for the first time in North America in Orange County during June of 2009. Reports of this insect from other southern California locations (i.e., Riverside County) suggest that this insect has been established for a year or more prior to these Orange County collections.” The site also 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.”