What Do Firebugs Eat? Fiery Red Bugs Who Suck on Treeparts

Firebugs are native to Europe, but they have recently made America their home. If you see one, you might wonder what do firebugs eat? We answer all your questions below.

European firebugs, also known as Pyrrocohoris apterus, are tiny red bugs native to Europe.

They are also found in parts of Siberia, Mongolia, India, China, and Salt Lake City in Utah. 

These red firebugs, sized between ¼ – ½ inches, mainly feed on seeds, especially seeds of mallow and linden plants. 

What Do Firebugs Eat
Firebug

What Are They?

Red firebugs are tiny bugs from the family Pyrrhocoridae, recognized by their bright red color and a black spotty pattern on their bodies and wings. 

Firebugs mature from eggs to nymphs to an adult through a simple metamorphosis.

Adult firebugs typically live for a year, but some can live up to two years. 

Female adult firebugs generally are slightly longer and wider than their male counterparts and lay around 40-80 eggs in their lifetime. 

Even though they start mating as early as within a week of emerging from their eggs, the female only lays eggs the following year.

This means firebugs have only one generation per year.  

What Do They Eat?

The firebug population primarily feeds on seeds from lime or linden and mallow trees. 

Like other bugs, these little creatures can also pierce and suck on the juice from their host through a stylet. 

They often gather in groups on plants, trees, and under leaf litter. 

What Eats Them?

The distinctly bright coloration of these firebugs may have resulted from evolution to avoid predators. It is known as aposematism, and other insects, such as ladybugs, also exhibit the same characteristics.

The red color of their bodies warns the predators to avoid attacking these tiny bugs.

However, despite this, red firebugs have a lot of predators in birds, mammals, amphibians, ants, and mites. 

Where Are They Found in North America?

In North America, they are found in Salt lake City, Utah. Though red firebugs are native to Europe, they first appeared in Utah around 2008. 

They arrived in Canada sometime around 2017. It’s possible they got transported with plant material from Europe or Asia. Since then, their population has been increasing.

However, it’s not a cause for concern because these are harmless pests and are not likely to attack or destroy local ecosystems. 

They also don’t host any kind of diseases. They mainly feed on seeds, have one generation per year, and have predators like birds, ants, etc. This makes the firebugs harmless insects. 

Are They Dangerous? 

Again, firebugs are not dangerous. Even though there have been some reports of predation on other insects, they are generally not known to attack humans or animals. 

They are tiny red and black insects that feed on seeds of lime and mallow trees. They also do not attack live plants, making them no risk to gardens or local ecosystems. 

Getting Rid of Them  

You can employ a few remedies to get rid of the red firebugs. Since these are true bugs, they can tolerate a lot of chemical insecticides. 

Instead, you can try drowning them by regularly spraying your garden with water. Most young bugs will quickly drown. 

Secondly, you can try spraying soapy water on these bugs. You can mix dishwashing liquid with water and directly spray it. It won’t have any residual effect once dry, but it will kill the bugs you sprayed on. 

You can seal and pack corners and cracks to prevent these bugs from entering your home. However, if they do enter, you can also vacuum them to get rid of them. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do firebugs eat grass?

Firebugs are known to feed on seeds and plants of mallow and lime. They can also suck juices from plants. 
There haven’t been any specific reports of firebugs feeding on grass. They only gather in grass or under leaves to avoid direct sun and seek shade.

Are red fire bugs harmful?

Red fire bugs are not harmful because neither do they bite humans or animals nor do they destroy gardens or ecosystems. 
They are just nuisance pests because they gather in large numbers under leaves or in the grass.

What do fire bugs eat?

Firebugs feed on the seeds of lime or linden and mallow plants. They also have a stylet, like other insects to suck juices from the plants. 
Even though there have been reports of predation on other insects, they aren’t bugs that attack or feed on other humans, animals, or live plants.

Can fire bugs bite?

No, fire bugs do not bite or attack. They are a nuisance pest because of their numbers. But they do not bite or sting or transmit any disease. 
Nor do they feed on plants and destroy ecosystems. They are actually no danger to humans at all, except for their nuisance.

Wrap Up 

Red firebugs, native to Europe and various parts of Asia, are now also found in North America and Canada. 

These striking red and black insects feed on seeds of lime and mallow plants and do not pose any risk to any local ecosystem. 

Thank you for reading.

Reader Emails

Fascinating firebugs have been a constant on our forums ever since they started showing up in the US. Many of our readers have reached out to us to understand what this bug is, what it does, what it eats, and more.

Here are a few samples – some alarmed, others just interested to know about these bugs. Do go through them!

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