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.
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.