Bug of the Month January 2015: Mediterranean Red Bug

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.
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.

23 thoughts on “Bug of the Month January 2015: Mediterranean Red Bug”

  1. We have a huge outbreak in our back yard about 12 miles east of Santa Maria Ca. They are in many different stages and appear to be breeding. They will swarm a weed to feed and appear to be boiling out of dry cracks in the soil. They are beautiful but there are a cajillion of them

    • Shary,
      I read your comment regarding the Mediterranean Red Bug in horse dung. The same bug infested our horse paddock by the thousands. I’ve been killing them with Castile soap and H2O but new nymphs and still huge infestation. Were you successful in eradicating them from your pasture? How? I know its been a long time, so you may not get this, but thought I’d take a shot. Thanks.

  2. We have so many of these on our property in Fallbrook, Ca (northern most part of San Diego county). They seem to be increasing daily!

  3. They are also in North Carolina. My yard is full of them and they multiply by the thousands. Size ranges to teeny to the size of a common cockroach. How can I get rid of them?

  4. I’m in Desert hot springs, and today I was driving and felt something on my arm, it had bit me. Too bad we can’t post pics here. I have a pic of it from today. This site won let you post picture

    • The editorial staff of What’s That Bug? strictly monitors site content, so we do not permit random posting of imagery from the web browsing public. Imagine for a moment how much time we would spend removing inappropriate content if anyone could post anything to our site. You may submit any images you would like to have identified through our established process, which is to use the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site and attaching up to three images. We select site content from among the hundreds of submissions we receive each week.

  5. First time I’ve seen this bug at home, Ventura, Ventura County. There seem to be quite a lot of them in a short period of time.

  6. Just spotted about 1/2 dozen or more of these insects just now clustering on the blooms on our milkweed/butterfly plants in the East/Hollywood or ‘Little Armenia’ area of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County.

    • After reading another comment earlier, back in August, Here in East Hollywood, I just shook the plant and they flew away, and/or, if they fell to the ground, I just stepped on them. [Most flew off].

  7. We’re in Mission Viejo, CA, around Trabuco and Los Alisos, not far from the Aliso Viejo sighting. We have an infestation of them in our yard. The yard is about 50×20, about 1/4 of it has a lot of vegetables we’re growning as a garden. Unfortunately we’ve let the rest of it go to weeds. The bugs are in all stages of maturity. The tiny ones look like red aphids. The adults frequently walk around with their rear-ends attached, obviously (?) mating. While they appear to have wings they do not seem to be flying.

    Can anyone recommend a garden-friendly/organic method of removal? I’m planning to hack out the weeds then sweep them up and try basic soap water all over.

  8. Thank you for this identification!! I posted a picture of these bugs on Facebook asking if anyone knew what they were and had a few people insisting they were box elder beetles. I was certain “my” bugs were something different, so I Googled how to do a reverse image search on my phone and found this page on your site. I am in Mojave, CA (north of Los Angeles) and have noticed these bugs for about a week now. It’s good to know they likely don’t pose any danger to us, our pets, or the trees in our area.

  9. Hi,
    I am in Fair Oaks and this is the first time I have seen them in 2019. They are in my planter boxes. Can anyone tell me how bad are they if they are among my vegetables? and if so, what’s the best thing to use to kill them?



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