Seed bugs are small black bugs with red trim from the family of insects called Lygaeida (lie-gee-a-dee) commonly referred to as seed bugs. They are found throughout the western United States, most commonly in desert areas of Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and southern California. This bug is not a beetle but is similar in appearance to other insects such as the boxelder bug and milkweed.
Why are they here and are they dangerous?
Seed bugs pose no health threats to people or pets, but are a nuisance when they arrive in large numbers. Seed bugs feed on native desert plants and will fly long distances in search of plants on which to feed as desert plants become dry during mid-summer and can reproduce rapidly when there has been a warm winter followed by abundant rainfall. A combination of drying host plants and the attractiveness of lights can cause mass migrations of bugs to urban homes and landscapes.
What can be done to get rid of them?
The Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District does not treat these bugs as they pose no public health threat. Chemical treatments would need to be done by a private pest control company. Pesticides that kill insects on contact, such as home perimeter treatments used by licensed pet control companies, can provide excellent control of bugs that they come in contact with but are unlikely to have any residual effects after one or two days. Businesses and homeowners are encouraged to keep doors closed and turn off lights whenever possible after dusk to reduce the risk of attracting bugs. If outdoor lights are needed, using yellow lightbulbs can reduce the attraction. Once bugs get inside structures, vacuuming is the preferred method for their removal. Outdoors, the bugs can be swept with a broom or blown away with a leaf blower.
How long will these bugs be here?
Nobody is certain how long the insects will be around. However, reports from Arizona suggest that aggregations of adults occur in July and August.