Friday, July 9, 2010

Seed bugs common in many areas

One of the occasional invaders of structures that we see in Texas is actually a family of insects called the seed bugs (Order Hemiptera: Family Lygaeidae).  There are some beautiful little insects in this group (see the picture to the right, taken by entomologist Mike Quinn on, of a species called Pseudopamera aurivilliana), most of which are overlooked by the casual insect observer because they stay in the fields and roadsides and feed only on, well, seeds.

Seed feeders don't hurt the plants they feed on, but they do reduce seed production.  Lygaeid bugs are just another part of the natural balance helping keep plant populations from getting out of hand.  

Some years we see high populations of a variety of these seed bugs, and this seems to be one of these years.  Entomologists from El Paso, Uvalde and other parts of south Texas are reporting invasions of false chinch bug, another type of Lygaeid this summer.

I recently had pictures of what appear to be Pseudopamera submitted by James Kiening (Bugmobile) through Martyn Hafley (Estes, Inc.).  The insects were clustered on what appeared to be building siding.  Also, John Stewart (Commercial Pest Control, Dallas) sent in samples of Ozophora picturata (see picture to right) that was clustering by the thousands outside a home in Dallas a couple of weeks ago (30 June). 

While interesting and useful to document the species that enter buildings, the bottom line for a customer with a Lygaeid infestation is that these are outdoor-living insects.  They show up only accidentally inside buildings (once they get indoors they have nowhere to go and nothing to eat).  If they enter a home or business it will be a temporary nuisance.  They will not reproduce or set up shop indoors.  If significant numbers show up indoors it's probably an indication of the need to seal windows, doors, air vents, etc.  Also take a look at outdoor lighting to see if unnecessary lights are being left on all night, especially lights shining on doors, windows or sides of the structure. 

P.S., I'm told by Ed Riley of the entomology museum at Texas A&M University that the Hemipteran family Lygaeidae is being split into multiple families by the meddling DNA-obsessed taxonomists.  I was encouraged to know that even he didn't recall the new families for these little guys, so we just agreed to keep calling them all Lygaeids until we're arrested by the entomology police.

1 comment:

tamuento said...

Amen to the "meddling DNS-obsessed taxonomists" that are attempting to overturn years of accepted and logical identification through morphological characteristics, such as placing Powderpost beetles or family Lyctidae as a subfamily of Bostrichidae, indeed!