Aggregation of Mediterranean Red Bugs

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.
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.

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.

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