infestation of red/black bugs in neighborhood
April 17, 2010
for the last two months we have had an infestation of black and red bugs in our lawns on our entire street. i thought they were boxelder, but looking at your pictures, they are different. i can’t find a picture anywhere on the internet like these. they live in the lawn and if you stand and look down at the lawn, it appears the entire lawn is moving they are so plentiful. hitting a stump, thousands immediately ran out. they were covering a part of the garden so thick all you could see is red. they are in every crack in the sidewalk and every square inch of the lawn. they don’t appear to be able to fly. you can see them mating constantly which looks somewhat like the pics of the boxelder bugs mating. please help identify these! ps there do not appear to be ma ny spiders out there this year. are they eating those? will they ruin the lawns?
desperate for help
salt lake city, utah
This is a European species, Pyrrhocoris apterus, commonly called a Firebug. We have numerous images posted to our site from parts of Europe, but this is the first report we have gotten from North America. Out of curiosity, we checked BugGuide, and several photos of Firebugs were sent in March 2010 from Utah, and considering the details of your letter, the Invasive Exotic Firebug is already established in Salt Lake City. You should probably contact the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding this outbreak. We will copy Stephanie Dubon at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding this unusual sighting.
thank you so much for your quick reply. you guys are awesome! i notified the aphis like you suggested. sonja
Reply from APHIS
I don’t believe anyone has shared Stephanie’s news with you, so please allow me. Stephanie accepted a new job with the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) in Rome, Italy. … All of us here miss her, personally and professionally!
Meanwhile, your emails are still reaching our group through this email (NPAG@aphis.usda.gov), and are much appreciated. I hope that you will continue to think of us when you receive information about new pest species in the US.