Fire Bug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

I have been doing quite a bit of lawn work this week. While I pull long grass along the wall of my yard, I find hundreds of these fire bugs.

According to my research, the fire bug eats the seeds of Lime trees and Mallow species. I have not identified the trees in my yard, so I don’t know what the bug is eating. I also read where they mate in April and May, but I caught these two (see photo below) in a post coital position and it is late July. You can watch a video of them mating put on by someone on youtube with way too much time on their hands.

I noticed the big, black eye like spots on their back. It looks like a Halloween mask or the mask of one of the villains in an old Scooby Doo episode.

Owen and Oliver get excited every time they see one, which is often. On our walk today through the park we saw more than ever. They are called fire bugs because of their color, not because they have a sting, like fire ants. We pick them up and Owen likes to pull them apart.

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