Have You Seen This Red & Black Bug?

It looks like a boxelder bug doesn’t it?  Ah but boxelder bugs have a lot more solid black on their wings.  Maybe a milkweed bug? No, they have red and black wings but no black circles like this one. Can’t find it in any of your reference books?  Wait a minute….maybe its not from North America.

It’s the European Firebug (Pyrrhacoris apterus).  Order Hemiptera, Family Pyrrhocoridae.  It is seed bug, meaning it feeds on seeds. In this case, of Malvaceae (e.g. hollyhock, hibiscus, mallow) and lime trees.

Pyrrhocoridae - Pyrrhocoris apterus

European Firebug Nymph with wing buds that do not fully cover the abdomen. (Photo: Hectonichus, commons.wikimedia.org)

There have been multiple sightings of the European fire bug, most recently in Brampton.

European Firebug Adults and Nymphs (Photo: Jan Mehlich, pl.wikipedia.org)

You will find them most easily in spring and fall, when they congregate in groups in landscapes and around buildings, similar to boxelder bugs.

They are not a pest of landscape plants, turf or humans. Just a nuisance.



About Jen Llewellyn

OMAFRA Nursery and Landscape Specialist @jen.llewellyn
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