Currently viewing the category: "Red Bugs"
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Subject: Small beetle
Location: Aliso Viejo, California, USA
May 7, 2015 9:25 pm
This bug walked across our patio during the day, on a breezy spring day in Southern California. The bug is approximately 1/2 centimeter in length.
Signature: Lori

Thank you for your help! I believe this bug is a Mediterranean Red Bug. Is that correct?

Mediterranean Red Bug

Mediterranean Red Bug

Hi Lori,
We agree with you that this is a Mediterranean Red Bug,
Scantius aegyptius, a recently introduced Invasive Exotic species.

Thank you, Daniel!
Warmly,
Lori

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Subject: Red Bug
Location: South Africa
March 23, 2015 2:45 am
Can you please identify these bugs. Notice one is different than the other. They are pairing most of the time. Regards.
Signature: Jannie du Plessis

Red Bugs

Red Bugs

Hi Jannie,
You have a group of immature Red Bugs in the family Pyrrhocoridae and one winged adult.  When we have more time, we will attempt a species identification for you, but meanwhile, you can browse iSpot for the correct identification.  We believe these are Cotton Stainers.

 

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Subject: species of the bug
Location: West Malaysia
February 13, 2015 12:26 pm
Hello, I would be very thankful if anyone could tell me what is this bug, I found this red bug with a small red head and colorful yellow and black dots on the back next to my door (West Malaysia).
Signature: thank you

Red Bug

Red Bug

It is appropriate to refer to this insect as a Red Bug because it is a True Bug in the suborder Heteroptera and because it is red, and we believe it is also a member of the family Pyrrhocoridae, commonly called the Red Bugs.  This matching image on FlickR is in agreement with our supposition.  At this time, we cannot provide a more specific identification.

Red Bug

Red Bug

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Subject: ID Bug. please?
Location: Ventura County, CA
December 28, 2014 11:14 am
Hello. Happy New Year.
Can you ID this bug for us. They seem to be increasingly multiplying on our property in the
north end of the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. We grow some organic
fruits and want to make sure they are not a plant eating insect, or what we would have to do
in an organic way to handle them.
Thank you.
Clay
Signature: email

Mediterranean Red Bug

Mediterranean Red Bug

Dear Clay,
Though it is lacking an recognized common name on BugGuide, we have been calling the invasive exotic species
 Scantius aegyptius by the descriptive name Mediterranean Red Bug based on its site or origin and its common family name.  According to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside:  “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.”  We suspect sightings of this Mediterranean Red Bug will be increasing in Southern California this winter, which makes your submission a very appropriate Bug of the Month for January 2015.

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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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