Firebug does not present a risk

Pyrrhocoris apterus GeoMadona 08 2006 196


New discoveries and unexpected meetings, when relaxing in nature, is nothing unusual, especially during harvest time of berries and mushrooms. This summer a new meeting in the Alūksne park with never before seen red bugs on trees has caused a concern to a local citizen – are they harming the trees and should some protective measures be performed?

The environmental planning specialist, senior environmental expert of JSC “Latvijas valsts meži” (LVM) – Mārtiņš Kalniņš – explains that the red bugs are firebugs (Pyrrhocoris apterus). In English it presages fire, in Russian it is called a bug-soldier.

“Firebugs are not dangerous and does not cause any harm to humans and cultivated plants. Mainly they feed on linden seeds, but can also suck the juice. In Latvia they are common, almost in all countryside parks, and in other greenery where are trees – usually close to linden trees. They do not cause a risk to trees,” explains Mārtiņš Kalniņš, environmental expert of LVM.


Pyrrhocoris apterus Staburags20072013 018


Environmental expert points out that the second most common shield bug in Latvian forests and meadows is the striped bug (Graphosoma lineatum), that usually gathers on French parsley and other chervils. If the previously mentioned firebug could be mistaken, then the striped bug by external appearance are unique creatures in Latvian fauna – there are no other insect, whose body would be coloured with vertical black and red stripes.


Graphosoma lineatum Latgale28 07 2006 056


“Trying to drive out bugs from some place has no meaning, because then you have to destroy or change their surroundings. I would advise simply to enjoy this colour and form of nature!” says Mārtiņš Kalniņš, environmental expert of LVM.